The Builder Magazine
November 1929 - Volume XV - Number 11
Ernst and Falk
From the German of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Translated by BRO. B.A. EISENLOHR, Ohio
THERE appeared in THE BUILDER, vol. I, page 20, an article entitled: "Ernst and
Falk." " Translated from the German of G. E. Isessing (1778) by Louis Block,
P.G.M. of Masons in Iowa." In a precatory note the editor states that it was during
the author's "last years that he wrote 'Ernst and Falk: Five Conversations for
Freemasons'-a gem of purest ray and a treasure forever to the Order which he
loved." The translator calls them not " conversations " but " discourses. " They are
to be called "dialogs" here, if for no better reason than that this term is suggestive
of the Soeratic dialog whose manner was well matched by Lessing's in "Ernst and
In how far these dialogs constitute "a gem of purest ray," especially in the light of
the fourth and fifth dialog, here presented, each reader will have to judge for
himself. There probably will be differences of opinion. The article on Masonry in
the Catholic Encyclopedia, as reprinted in THE BUILDER, vol. V, p. 250, does not
seem to miss the truth so very far in what it says about Lessing's opinion of
Masonry, and the same would be true of other intellectuals in Germany at the end
of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. That they did not
hold such a very high opinion of the Order is not at all surprising in view of the
great number of different "systems" prevailing then, or their experiences with the
Johnsons, Cagliostros, and like adventurers, or the evident frauds that everywhere
were being practiced under a pretended Masonic cloak. Lessing's connection with
Masonry, and His Masonic works: Nathan the Wise and The Education of the
Human Race, as well as Ernst and Falk are the fruits of the author's pure humanity.
They are not only Masonic Classics, they have been cataloged in the classic
literature of the world. Perhaps in some later articles in THE BUILDER some
competent brother will attempt to discuss the author and his Masonic writings. It is
a field ripe for the reaper. Here, the translation of only the fourth and fifth dialogs
is attempted. Why Brother Block did not continue the translations the writer does
not know. The prefatory note about there being "five conversations" is quite
correct. In THE BUILDER, vol. II, p. 201, appears the third of the five. From the
note accompanying it we quote: "Herewith we present the Third Discourse, to
appreciate which the reader must needs turn baek to the first two," and in the
present instance, this should be amended to read "turn back to the first three," the
first two appearing in vol. I, and the third in vol. II.
In very brief summary, the first three dialogs say that Masonry has its foundation
in those things that are part and parcel of human society. Each man is to live with
all his fellowmen so that the one shall perfect the other. Individuals are hindered in
this by such things as the diversity of races, of political constitutions, differences
in occupation, in social rank, and differences in creed. Freemasonry is to do away
with all these differences and their infamous influence by establishing humanity as
the bond that unites all human beings. Freemasonry is not instituted, primarity, to
lend assistance in extreme need, or to bestow benefactions upon others, or for
purposes of amusement and entertainment. Its purpose is to exercise the individual
in improving himself constantly and to assist others in the attainment of perfection.
This is "the spark" that "had kindled."
Ernst went and became a Free-Mason. What he found there forms the Subject of a
fourth and fifth discourse with which the road divides. (1)
The business or translating is often a treacherous thing. Even the best translator
may happen to have before him all edition of the original which is faulty, through
careless editing or other reasons, and the peculiarities of the original idiom are ever
with him, as will be manifest in the translation herewith presented. Occasionally
the idiom defies translation. Almost at the end of the third dialog Falk says, in
substance, that the Masons have never made a secret of a certain fundamental
principle of Masonry. According to this principle they accept every worthy man of
proper disposition without regard to his nationality, his religion, his station in the
social order. Then he continues:
Naturally this fundamental principle takes for granted the existence of men who
have risen above such divisions, rather than those who intend to create them.
This translation seems justified according to two of four immediately available
editions, each by a different publisher. According to the other two, Falk says
something like this:
Indeed, this fact [that Masons accept worthy men regardless of their nationality,
religion, etc.] seems to presuppose the existence, even now, of fundamental laws
that were established by such men as have risen above these divisions, rather than
that the purpose of this fait should be the establishment of such laws.
The passage as quoted above from THE BUILDER is clearer than this. But is it as
authoritative? The original German is not so very clear in either of the available
versions. The difference between them is merely one letter. The following
translation of the fourth and fifth dialogs is based upon Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's
samtliche Schriften. Herausgegeben von Karl Lachman, Dritte, auf s neue
durchgesehene und vermehrte Auflaye, besoryt durch Frank Muncker. Vol. XIII.
Leipzig: G. J. Goschen, 1897. This is the most scholarly, painstaking,
comprehensive, and most authoritative edition of Lessing's Works that has
appeared up to the present time.
Inasmuch as the author uses some English words and phrases in these dialogs, their
translation into English is an impossibility. Because of that fact and others, the
"flavor" of the original is lost somewhat in translation.
Lessing was librarian of the Ducal Library at Wolfenbuttel, Brunswick. The first
three dialogs were accompanied by a few lines of dedication to the Duke of
Brunswick, Ferdinand, who was himself a Mason. They were preceded also by a
"Preface by a Third Party." Not all editions contain these. Since they did not appear
in THE BUILDER, vol. I, they are given here. The first three dialogs were
published in 1778, the last two in 1780, though it is pretty well established now
that the fourth and fifth were written, at least in outline, before the others were, and
even before Lessing was made a Mason.
DEDICATION OF "ERNST AND FALK" Dialogs 1, 2 and 3
To His Most Serene Highness, Duke Ferdinand. Most Serene Duke:
Even I was at the fount of Truth and drew from its waters. Only he can judge of
how deeply I have drawn, from whom I expect permission to draw even more
deeply. The people are languishing for water and are perishing. Your highness'
Most Humble Servant.
Preface by a Third Party
IF the following pages do not contain the true ontology of Freemasonry I would be
eager to leam in which of the innumerable writings that have been the cause of
them, a more definite idea of its substance may be found.
But if all Freemasons, regardless of what stamp they may be, will be glad to admit
that the viewpoint here indicated is the only one from which sound eyes see a real
form, and not one from which a mere phantom shows itself to the dim visioned
eye, then the question still might be asked, why no one has come out in such plain
language long ago?
There is much that could be replied to this question. But one will hardly be able to
find another question that resembles it more than does this one: Why did the
elementary books of instruction in Christianity come into existence so late? Why
have there been so many and good Christians who were neither able nor willing to
give an intelligible statement of their faith?
But this, after all, would have occurred too early, in Christendom, inasmuch as
faith would have gained but little, had it occurred. If only the thought had not come
to the Christians to give a statement of it in a very absurd manner.
Let every individual make his own application.
FOURTH DIALOG Preface by a Third Party
AS is known, the author of the first three dialogs had this continuation in
manuscript, ready for printing, when he received a pleading hint, from higher up,
not to publish it.
Previous to that, however, he had communicated the fourth and fifth dialogs to
some friends. Presumably without his permission, these friends had made copies of
them. By a peculiar accident one of these copies came into the hands of the present
publisher. He regretted that so many magnificent truths were to be suppressed and,
not having received any hint, he resolved to have the manuscript printed.
If this liberty is not abundantly excused by the desire to see light east over such
important subjects, then nothing more can be said in defense of having taken this
liberty, than that the publisher is not an initiated Mason.
Nevertheless, it will be found, by the way, that for reasons of caution and respect
for a certain branch of this society he has not, in the publication, mentioned several
names which were spelled out in full.
FALK. Welcome, Ernst! Back again at last. I have long since finished my mineral
ERNST. And because of that you feel quite well? I'm glad of that.
FALK. What does that mean? Never has a "I'm glad of that" (2) been uttered more
ERNST. I am irritated, and it would lack but little for me to say that you are the
cause of my irritation.
FALK. I ?
ERNST. YOU induced me to take a foolish step. Give attention! Give me your
hand! What have you to say? You shrug your shoulders ? That caps the climax.
FALK. I induce you ?
ERNST. It may be, without intending to do so.
FALK. And yet the blame is mine.
ERNST. The man of God speaks to the people about a country which flows with
milk and honey, and the people should not be longing for it? And are the people
not to grumble over this man of God when, instead of leading them into this
promised land, he leads them into arid deserts ?
FALK. Well! Well! The damage can't be so very great. Besides, I see that you have
been working at the graves of our forefathers.
ERNST. They were not encompassed with flames, however, but with smoke.
FALK. Then wait until the smoke is dispersed, and the flame will shed light and
ERNST. The smoke will suffocate me before the flame gives me any light. And I
will see that others, who are better able to stand the smoke, will warm themselves
at the flame.
FALK. You surely are not speaking of people who like to endure the pungent
smoke, if it but be the smoke of another's bountiful kitchen?
ERNST. So you know them, after all ?
FALK. I've heard about them.
ERNST. All the more, what is it that could induce you to trick me this way? To
make a false showing to me of things whose groundlessness you knew all too
FALK. Your vexation causes you to be very unjust. You claim that I spoke to you
of Freemasonry without having given you to understand, in more ways than one,
how useless it is that every honest man should become a Freemason? How useless
only? Indeed, how harmful.
ERNST. Well, that may be.
FALK. You claim that I did not tell you, that one may fulfill the highest
obligations of Masonry without being called a Freemason ?
ERNST. Rather, I remember that. However, you well know that, when my fancy
has once spread its pinions, has made one flap with them- can I restrain them? I
reproach you with nothing except that you held before them such a bait.
FALK. And you soon wearied of the effort to reach it. Why didn't you say a word
to me about your intention?
ERNST. Would you have dissuaded me ?
FALK. Most certainly. - Who, in the case of an active boy, wound talk him into
getting back into the gocart again because he still falls now and then? I'm making
you no compliments. You had already gone too far to make a new start from there.
No exception could be made in your case. All must set foot upon that road.
ERNST. Nor should 1 rue having set foot upon it, if I could promise myself better
things of the remainder of the road. But, promises, excuses for delays, and nothing
but promises !
FALK. Well, it's something if they are already making promises. And what is it
they are giving promises about ?
ERNST. Oh pshaw, you know. It is the Scottish Masonry, the Scottish knight.
FALK. Oh yes, quite right - But based upon what promise is the Scottish knight
hoping for ?
ERNST. Would that somebody knew !
FALK. And those like you, the other novices in the Order, don't they know
anything either ?
ERNST. Ah they, they know so much, they expect so much! The one wants to
make gold, the other wants to conjure up spirits, the third wants to re-establish the
* * * (3). You're smiling, and smiling only?
FALK. What else can I do ?
ERNST. Show indignation at such nonsensical fellows!
FALK. If it were not for one thing that reconciles me with them again.
ERNST. And what's that?
FALK. That in all these dreamings I recognize a striving after reality, that from all
these mistaken paths one can nevertheless see whither the true path leads.
ERNST. And from the making of gold, too ?
FALK. From the making of gold, too. Whether gold really can be made or not
made is a matter of indifference to me. But I am very certain that sensible human
beings will be wishing to be able to make it only with regard to Freemasonry. Also,
anyone who comes into possession of the Philosophers' Stone, becomes a
Freemason that very same moment. And it really is odd, that all reports about
actual or supposed goldmakers that are current in the world, actually confirm this.
ERNST. And those who would conjure up spirits?
FALK. About the same is true of them. It is impossible that spirits can give ear to
the voice of any human being other than that of a Freemason.
ERNST. How seriously you can say such things !
FALK. By all that's sacred! Not more seriously than they are.
ERNST. Oh pshaw! But finally these new * * *, so it please God?
FALK. O well, they !
ERNST. Do you see? You know nothing to say about them. For surely, * * *
existed once upon a time, but goldmakers and spirit conjurers possibly never
existed. And, of course, it is easier to say what is the attitude of the Freemasons to
such creatures of the imagination, than what it is to real and actual ones.
FALK. Indeed, in this case I can only express myself in a dilemma: Either, or
ERNST. That's good, too. If one at least but knows that, of two statements, one of
them is true. Well then: Either of these "would be (4) " * * *-
FALK. Ernst ! Stop before you finish your mockery. On my conscience! There It
is just they who either are surely on the right road, or they are so far from it that
there remains to them not even the hope of ever getting on it.
ERNST. Well, I can't help but listen to all of that. For, to ask you for a more
FALK. Why not ? It has been long enough now that they have been using secrecies
from which to make the secret.
ERNST. What do you mean by that?
FALK. As I have already told you, the secret of Freemasonry is that which the
Freemason cannot reveal even were it possible that he wanted to reveal it. But
secrecies are things which, while they indeed can be revealed, were concealed at
certain times and in certain countries partly because of envy, were choked back
partly because of fear, were kept secret partly as a matter of prudence.
ERNST. For instance ?
FALK. For instance, in the first place, this relationship between * * * and
Freemasons. It may be, indeed, that once upon a time it was necessary and well not
to let anything of this be noticed by others. But now, now on the contrary it may
become very harmful if they continue to make a secret of this relationship. Rather
ought it to be loudly acknowledged, and all that ought to be necessary is, to
determine the exact period in which the * * * were the Freemasons of their time.
ERNST. May I know it, this period?
FALK. Read the history of the * * * thoughtfully. You must hit upon it. you surely
will hit upon it, and that is the very reason why you should not have become a
ERNST. O, that I were sitting among my books this very minute. And if I hit upon
it, will I get your admission that I have done so ?
FALK. At the same time you will find, that you do not need my admission. But, to
get back to my dilemma again.
It is this period alone which furnishes the data for its determination. If all
Freemasons who are now pregnant with the * * * see and feel this real period, well
for them ! Well for the world! Blessings upon everything that they undertake!
Blessings upon everything which they forbear from undertaking! But if they do not
see and feel it, this period; if a mere consonance has misled them; if it was only the
Freemason working in the * * * (5) who made them think of the * * *; if they
merely fell in love with * * * on the * * * (6); if they merely would like to bestow
on themselves and their friends nice * * * fat prebends; well, then, may Heaven
grant us very much compassion so that we may refrain from laughing.
ERNST. Behold ! You still are able to get warmed up and bitter.
FALK. Sorry, yes ! I thank you for your remark, and I'm cold as ice again.
ERNST. And what do you think, which one on the two cases is the one of these
FALK. I fear it is the latter. Would that I might be mistaken! For if it should be the
former, how could they entertain such a peculiar project ? To re-establish the * *
* ! That great period at which the * * * were Freemasons no longer occurs. Europe,
at least, has long since passed it and, in matters pertaining to it, no longer has need
of any extraordinary assistance. What is it then that they're after? Do they, too,
want to become a saturated sponge that the higher ups will sometime squeeze dry?
But to whom am I directing this question, and against whom ? Did you ever tell
me, could you tell me that other than novices burden themselves with these
vagaries about goldmakers, spirit conjurers, * * *? Other than children, than people
who have no scruples about abusing children? But children become men. Just leave
them undisturbed! Enough, as said, that even in the toy 1 behold the weapons
which at some time the men will wield with a sure hand.
ERNST. After all, my friend, it is not these childish things that put me out of
humor. Without presuming that anything serious might be back of them, I ignored
them. A cask, I thought, thrown overboard for the young whales ! But what vexes
me is this: Everywhere I see nothing, everywhere I hear nothing but these childish
things; that no one pretends to know anything about that concerning which you
aroused expectations within me. I may strike this tone as often as I will and
towards whom I will. Nobody cares to join in; always and everywhere the deepest
FALK. You mean
ERNST. That equality which you indicated to me as being the fundamental law of
the Order; that equality which filled all my soul with such unexpected hope: at last
to be able to breathe it in fellowship with men who understand how to do their
thinking in a sphere that is above all civil modifications, without sinning against
any one of these equalities to the detriment of a third party.
FALSE Well ?
ERNST. It still exists? If ever it did exist! Let an enlightened Jew come along and
put in his application. "O" they say, "a Jew? Of course, a Freemason must at least
be a Christian. It is quite a slatter of indifference as to what kind of a Christian.
Without distinction as to religion, means, only, without distinction as to the three
publicly tolerated religions in The Holy Roman Empire. " Don't you think so, too?
FALK. No, not exactly.
ERNST. Let an honest shoemaker who, at his last, has had leisure for many a good
thought (even though it were a Jacob Bohme and Hans Sachs (8)), let him come
and put in his application! "O" they say, "a shoemaker! Why, of course, a
shoemaker." Let a faithful, experienced, tried servant come and put in his
application. "O" they say, "of course, people of that kind, who can't themselves
select the color of their own coats - we enjoy such good company among
FALK. And how good is their company ?
ERNST. Oh, well ! I have nothing in particular to criticize in regard to that, except
that it is exclusively good company, of which one gets so tired in the world -
princes, counts, gentlemen of the nobility, officers, councilors of all sorts,
merchants, artists - all of these, without distinction as to their social class, have
their topsy turvy fancies in the lodge, it is true. But as a matter of fact all are of one
and the same class and, alas, this is - (9)
FALK. In my time things were not exactly like that. And yet!. 1 don't know, I can
but guess. I have been outside of all connection with lodges too long a time,
whatever their form may be. Not to be able to be admitted for a while into the
lodge now and, to be debarred from freemasonry, these, surely, are two different
ERNST. How so ?
FALK. Because the relationship between the lodge and Freemasonry is like that
between the church and belief. From the outward prosperity of the church we can
draw no conclusions as to the faith of its members, none whatever. There is rather
a certain outward prosperity of it concerning which it would be a miracle if it could
exist along with the true faith. And furthermore, both have never yet gotten on with
each other. On the contrary, the one has always destroyed the other, as history
teaches. And thus, I fear, I fear
ERNST. What ?
FALK. In short, this lodge business, as I hear it is carried on at the present time, it
will not down with me. Having a treasury; to acquire capital; invest this capital; try
to use it to make the best bargain; buy lands; have kings and princes bestow
privileges; to use the prestige and power of them for the suppression of the
brothers who belong to an observance different from the one which they would so
much like to establish as being the essence of the thing - If this does well in the
long run ! How gladly would I be willing to have prophesied falsely !
ERNST. O well ! What is it than can happen ? The State does not carry on so any
longer now. And besides, among the persons that make its laws, or administer
them, are probably, even now, already too many Freemasons.
FALK. Very well ! Then even though they have nothing to fear from the State,
what kind of an influence, do you think, will such a form of government have on
them themselves? Will they not, evidently, get back to that, from which they
wanted to tear themselves away ? Will they not cease being what they claim to be?
I don 't know whether you quite understand me
ERNST. Just continue !
FALK. To be sure ! Yes indeed nothing endures forever. Possibly this is the very
means selected by Providence to put an end to the whole schema of Freemasonry.
ERNST. Schema of Freemasonry? What is it you call by that term? Schema?
FALK. Well! Schema, husk, dress.
ERNST. I still don t know
FALK. You surely don't think that Freemasonry always played the part of
ERNST. Now what does that mean? That freemasonry did not always play the part
FALK. In other words, do you really think that that which is Freemasonry was
always called Freemasonry? - But see ! It's already past noon ! And there my
guests are already coming. You're surely going to stay?
ERNST. I didn't want to, but now I shall probably have to. For a twofold satiation
now awaits me.
FALK. Only, at table, please, not a word.
(1) THE BUILDER, vol. ii, p. 202.
(2) These italics, and all which follow, appear in the original.
(3) The asterisks here, and wherever they appear subsequently, represent the Order
of the Knights Templar. Not of course, the American Masonic Order, but in most
places the original one, and in others the pretended revived Templar Order that was
making claims to the leadership of German Masonry at the time Lessing wrote.
(4) Lessing here used the English words as marked by the inverted commas.
(5) Gosche's edition of Lessing's works, Berlin, 1875, p. 26, says: "An attentive
reader will easily be able to fill out the two * * * and some .'
(6) In the (second) edition of Ernst and Falk, 1781, the year of Lessing's death, this
passage reads: "the red cross on the white mantle."
(7) The punctuation of the original is here preserved. The sense is not very clear.
Two imprints of the 1780 edition have an exclamation point instead of the question
mark, The Gosche edition has however a comma instead but by what authority?
However the comma makes for clearer sense, viz., "It (this equality) would still
exist if ever it did exist! With the question mark as it is given the meaning would
be: "You say it still exists."
(8) The noted mystic and a well known poet of the Reformation period, both of
whom were shoemakers by trade.
(9) Here the edition of 1781 has: "one and the same class, that class namely, on
which time hangs heavily and whom the need to be occupied joins into one and the
— o —
If Pythagoras Returned
By BRO. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California (Concluded from October)
WE have spoken above of certain modifications which may be produced in the egg
and we ought to go further; proceeding from the idea that life is produced by
physico-chemical phenomena - which is, of course, metaphysical for the
experimental sciences show only a certain simultaneousness - certain scientists
leave tried to reproduce artificially, or at least to imitate living tissue by beginning
with the mysterious "protoplasm" which is their constituent element.
Already the study of the "Brownian movements" have shown microscopic particles
in a state of incessant agitation, which appear inherent to them, and may be
perhaps the first stammering of life. But they have also wished to go farther and
surprise the secret of the construction and the genesis of the cell.
Von Schron, Benedikt and other scientists have tried to seize the process of the
formation of crystals, but always by proceeding from a "germ crystal," as in the
egg all proceeds from an organic germ. The celebrated experiments of Leduc have
shown crystalline formations imitating vegetation by letting fall a drop of a
solution of sugared sulphate of copper into a mixture of gelatine, ferrocyanide of
potassium and marine salt. These similitudes of plants possess some of the
properties peculiar to living beings, but they are not alive. If they are a daring
manifestation of the power of the human, they have not given us true living beings.
Only they prove that when man reproduces the putting to work of certain processes
of nature, he happens by the same effort to produce coherent forms, and not merely
a vague chaotic magma - is it not still "geometry" which reappears, here
artificially, there natural?
I would say as much of the experiments of Benard, or of those of Butschli of
Heidelberg, with linseed oil, alkaline carbonates and water, or with the yellow of
an egg, etc.: Mere one imitates the substances called "colloidal" which are at the
base of organisms, and even in certain cases they have been able to form little film
envelopes, microscopic cells, containing a jelly analogous to that of organic
tissues. This is not the famous "homunculus" dreamed of by certain alchemists, but
it is an interesting demonstration of the steps which nature follows "spontaneously"
in its constructions:- architecture.
In another order of ideas, it is fitting to observe that the examination of the spectra
of different flames permits us to note, by the lines that appear there, the chemical
composition of the luminous focus thus analyzed. Behold then, light indicating by
its shafts that which are finally seen as geometrical outlines and are the elements of
the body in Combustion. And the number of the lines (arithmetic) happens to
corroborate their position (geometry).
In the phenomena of acoustics the Mason will find still another reason for
meditation and study of the letter G.
We wish to make allusion to the experiments which have become classic because
they are so old, although they have been multiplied and perfected in our day. This
is not only the problem of the proportions of the strings or sonorous pipes, of
which it would be commonplace to speak; it is not only the direct graphs of the
sonorous vibrations of the tuning-fork, which give such curious designs by the
combination of the two movements, parallel or rectangular; it is the action of the
vibration of a sonorous environment on flames, with the old experiments of
Helmholtz. There are also the curious designs formed by the stroke of a violin bow
on plates sprinkled over with sand, according to the place where they produce a
contact, which is combined with that of the violin bow.
At the same time we cannot help thinking of the other designs which are luminous
and which the phenomena of interference produce; the effects of the polarization of
light and the colored rings which appear in bi-refractory crystals. Let us remark
besides, that all these designs can be expressed in numerical language: sound form
The Mason in passing will salute the calculations of thermodynamics which unite
by figures the calorific vibration and the mechanical effect. But he would not know
that experimental psychology records sensation with figures, and that the scientist
Charles Henry has noted in this manner, in equations, even the phenomena of life
and of thought.
Then he would take cognizance of the results of stereochemistry, or the relations of
the atoms in their grouping in the molecule and the conceptions which it inspires in
the observer. Behold several composite bodies which are formed of the same
constituent chemical elements. Analysis reveals no difference. What is it then
which permits us to establish their identity and to distinguish one from the other, to
explain why they do not cause light to deviate in the same way when it is caused to
traverse their crystals.
This idea is that, in their chemical identity, that which distinguishes them one from
the other, is the molecular arrangement of their elements in space, that is to say a
geometrical rule. It is scarcely fifty years ago that Van t'Hoff and de Bel, relying
on the work of the great Pasteur, have brought to light this new branch of science,
which since has made considerable progress. It has not only cleared the minds but
it has permitted the synthesis of a certain number of organic products. It is
therefore no more a reverie than all the other Scientific hypotheses, from which
they have drawn the laws and the results of it remain positively valid.
It is likewise remarkable that chemistry has had to have recourse to symbolic
notations, and to formulas which are a veritable algebra, permitting the noting of
the composition of bodies, the results of their combinations and of their
modifications by notations which one may compare to real equations.
The atomic notation employed by modem chemistry based on the admission of the
atom, a notion conceived by Grecian antiquity, is moreover conformable to those
which are current, although under another aspect, in the Oriental philosophy. But
again we must insist that the systems and their expression are only points of view
and the main point alone is of consequence for Masonic esotericism, the
equivalents and the definite proportions of the combination of bodies brings to
light that which we might readily call the arithmetic of chemistry, by the side of its
Ampere had already admitted experimentally that the atoms are maintained
"separated from each other by repulsive forces," necessitating by this the corollary
of attractive forces, like the love and the hate of the atoms, of which the old Greek
Wurtz has again taken up the same conception which is now classic, but it is an
entirely different question than that of the constitution of the atom, or what
Leibnitz would have called the monad, for the ancient atomist admitted the
impenetrability and the indivisibility of the atoms and saw in force only a
manifestation of movement, the point of view followed by the materialists of our
But the present scientific knowledge has left very far behind it the atoms of
Democritus, and we are going to see, by the following, how they are considered
The multiple and Protean-formed manifestations of the atoms, according to
contemporary physicists, no longer put us in the presence of a ponderable and
irreducible element but they make us meet, face to face, a new geometry of which
the constitutive factors will have to be determined and which will lead us to new
examinations. We shall see if they take us away from or bring us closer to our
point of departure.
The works of the experimentalists, our contemporaries, have demonstrated by
remarkable experiments that the theory of the atom, fundamental material unity,
has gone out of date and they have built a new theory of the atom, which makes of
it a multiplicity, of which the units have no longer the character of matter in the
sense that current language attaches to this word, nor even in any acceptation.
The scientist M. Langevin has written this:
The conception of the atom of electricity, from which the material atoms are
formed, furnishes the necessary tie between matter and the Ether environment,
with which it is surrounded. The atom is a complex whole formed of a centre
positively electrified, called the nucleus, around which gravitate the negative
corpuscles or electrons. Ether, meta-ether, energy; what matters it what they are
It is a kind of planetary system; it seems that the genial Pascal may have
prophesied it when he wrote in his "Pensees," that he saw in his abridgment of the
atom, "an infinity of universes of which each one has its firmament, its planets its
The atom of each body forms thus a distinct little world. The study of the radio-
active power of bodies, causing the discovery among other things of the Alpha
particles, has permitted us to examine these microscopic universes.
The atom of aluminum contains around its nucleus a group of 13 electrons at
varying distances. The atom of gold contains 79 electrons gravitating in six orbits
around its nucleus. The nuclei themselves are of an astonishing complexity; that of
aluminum contains 14 electrons and 27 protons; that of gold, 118 electrons and 197
protons and that of mercury 200 protons and 120 electrons. What would
Pythagoras say today of this arithmetic, and of this geometry, proceeding from
nothing in order to construct everything? Into what admiration would he be
plunged in the examination of the work of Curie, of Becquerel and of Perrin?
What would he think of the algebraic calculations scrutinizing the frame of
universal life and filling up the gaps in it, classifying a new chemical body in the
Mendeleieff s tables, or making the discovery of an invisible planet in the sidereal
spaces of the universe?
Spiritualist on materialist, the Mason can thus see his system surpassed and
restored to unity with the contrary system, by the sciences which the symbol of the
letter G conceals, and which seem everywhere present, in order to realize a
synthesis conformable to that of the esoteric tradition.
Do we deserve to be taxed with being reactionary in spirit because we approve of
our illustrious predecessors for having placed in the foreground geometry as the
While much of the foregoing is "done over" into English in the words and
expressions of the translator, there are many things not covered. In Langmuir's
postulates we find a geometrical formation of the atom and in the laboratory of the
General Electric Co. at Schenectady there are young ladies who have built up
models of the different atoms in accordance with the theories of Dr. Isangmuir
showing the various geometrical shapes assumed.
There is an emphasis of the Letter G which is all the more effective because silent.
In many lodgerooms today in America, we see even when the lodge is not in
session the letter G in the East back of the Master's chair, and at the same time,
when the lodge is in session and the Master assumes his jewel, there is a
duplication and emphasis as he places his jewel in its proper position.
Pythagoras was a Greek bom on the island of Samos in the Egean Sea, who settled
in the southern part of Italy, called Magna Grecia. He required from those who
wished to join his brotherhood at Krotona, that they should possess a knowledge of
geometry. In fact Plato, one of his later followers, said "God geometrizes" and
today we know how tme this is. The Greeks called the earth, "Gea," and its
measurement was "metron" hence "geometry" was used to measure the earth, the
other planets and for other purposes. The letter G in Greek was called "gamma"
and it was made exactly in the form of the square, the jewel of the Master, and one
of the Great Lights.
The Compasses, another of the great lights, was used to circumscribe the circle, or
to give the spherical form of the earth, "Gea," and this circle with a horizontal
diameter and an upright line crossing in the center, the Mundane Cross, formed a
square, the fourth part of a circle, the Gamma or letter G.
The sphere drawn by the compasses represented the atom, as well as the earth or
the universe, following the old Hermetic maxim engraved on the Emerald Tablet, "
As above, so below." Four gammas (Tetragammaton) or four squares with their
ends joined at the center of a circle, make the Swastika, the oldest symbol of the
world according to the Smithsonian Institution.
When you next see the letter G in the East think of this and "our ancient brother
Pythagoras," who no doubt was the Master of building fraternities in Greece, who
built the surviving temple of Paestum not far from Krotona, as well all the other
temples that were "the glory that was Greece." Then remember that our latest
scientific knowledge is taking us back to the knowledge of the ancients and the
philosophy of Pythagoras who said, " God is Universal Mind." When we realize
the unit of matter, the atom, is composed of electricity and has the three phases of
energy, substance and consciousness, and this consciousness is universal, we begin
to get an awe-inspiring conception of that Grand Architect of the Universe, who is
always geometrizing, based on the latest developments of modem science.
We also see why, as stated in Anderson's Constitutions,
A Mason * * * if he rightly understands the art, will never be a stupid atheist nor
an irreligious libertine.
That art is symbolised by the letter G.
— o —
The Almonte Stone
Communicated by BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Associate Editor
THIRTY- SEVEN years ago an alleged discovery was made of an inscription,
apparently of Masonic significance, near Almonte, a town about forty miles
southwest of Ottawa. It is necessary to make the statement guardedly, because, as
has so often happened in like cases, no adequate steps were taken at the time to
authenticate the find. In spite of having followed up every line of inquiry that
seemed likely to promise further information on the subject, one must confess that
the results have been very meagre and very unsatisfying.
The first, and most obvious approach was to the local lodge, Mississippi No. 147.
The secretary wrote me saying that he had no information on the subject, but
would pass my letter on to the- Master of the lodge, W. Bro. R.A. Jamieson, who
as it happened was also Town Clerk, and very much interested in the history of the
locality. Not hearing anything further, after an interval of some months I wrote to
him direct. He replied that it was the first he had heard of my inquiry. He said that
he had heard vague rumors of the discovery of the inscription, but had no definite
information on the subject whatever. He added that he had no means of
prosecuting an inquiry along the most natural lines, as the files of the local
newspaper had been removed.
The following July I met him at the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Canada (for
Ontario), and obtained some further information. The files of the local newspaper,
the Almonte Gazette, were in the hands of the Hon. Andrew Haydon (no relative of
mine, by the way, so far as I know) and through him I obtained the first real light
on the subject. He was preparing a history of Lanark County, in which Pakenham
Township is situated, and very kindly looked up the original account that appeared
in the Almonte Gazette. I might add that I had previously written to the
Department of National Archives at Ottawa, in the hope that they might have a file
of the Gazette there, but was informed that if there had ever been one it had been
destroyed with many other documents in the destruction of the Parliament
Buildings by fire some years ago.
As soon as the date of the discovery was fixed I made a search through the files of
the Canadian Freemason and the Canadian Craftsman, but found no more than a
single paragraph in the former journal. This quoted a dispatch from London,
Ontario, which without giving any details, scoffed at the "discovery" as a hoax.
Since then I have had some further correspondence with Bro. Jamieson, whose
inquiries have resulted in very little further information. He, however, did elicit
from a son of Bro. Forsythe, the first Mason to examine the stone, that he
remembered a man coming to the farm when he was a boy, to cut out the portion
bearing the inscription. All those who were mentioned as having examined the
stone in the account in the gazette, are now dead with the exception of R. Wor.
Bro. Dr. McIntosh. To this brother I also wrote and was informed by him that, so
far as he knew, the proposal to cut out the inscribed portion of the stone was
carried out, though he had no knowledge of what became of it.
Bro. Jamieson wrote to me more recently to say that he was going to have the
minutes of the lodge searched in order to see if any mention was made of the
discovery, or of the proposal to cut out the inscription, and if this was one, how the
relic was disposed of. However, nothing rather has come to hand, and though I
have written Bro. Jamieson twice since, no further word from him has reached me.
The date of the issue of the Almonte Gazette containing original report was May
27, 1892. This account is here reproduced, with the heading and sub-heading under
which appeared, and a reproduction of the cut which accompanied it.
A MASONIC MYSTERY
An alleged relic of 1604 discovered in Pakenham Township - How it was found -
What it looks like - Speculation as to its author
Considerable interest has been created in Masonic circles in this district by the
discovery of a peculiar inscription on a rock situated on a mound in an out-of-the-
way place on Mrs. Joseph Dickson's farm in Upper Pakenham. The discovery was
accidentally made by Mrs. Dickson's son over a year ago. He told Mr. John
Forsythe, his neighbor, of what he had seen. The latter thought there was nothing
of importance in the affair, and paid little attention to it until a few weeks ago,
when, during a search for his cattle, his attention was drawn to a polished rock with
Masonic emblems carved on its surface. Mr. Forsythe, being an enthusiastic
member of the Craft, made a careful examination of the stone, and, finding it to
possess unusual interest for members of the fraternity, he communicated the result
of his investigations to his brethren in Almonte and Pakenham and invited them
out to inspect it for themselves. The invitation was accepted, and a short time ago
Messrs. R. Pollock, J. M. Munro, A. J. McAdam and W. P. McEwen, of Almonte,
and Dr. McIntosh, Major O'Neil and R. Moore, of Pakenham, enjoyed the
hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Forsythe, and during the afternoon paid a visit to the
spot containing the mysterious inscription. They found a rock with a polished
surface six or seven feet in length, and a couple of feet in depth, bearing an
inscription that, judged by its appearance, had been placed there by an unknown
hand at a very early period, as the action of the elements in the intervening period,
clearly demonstrated. The writer, believing that Gazette readers would be
interested, took an impression of the inscription, of which the following is a copy,
but greatly reduced in size:
How such an inscription came to be carved in such a place is a mystery. If it was
cut in the stone in the year 1 604 - nearly three centuries ago - as the figures would
seem to indicate, it looks as if some follower of Champlain (who passed through
this section about the year 1603) had done the work; but of course is mere
speculation. We understand that Mr. Forsythe intends sawing out the interesting
relic, and it will form the nucleus of a museum in connection with his lodge -
Mississippi No. 147, A. F. and A. M., G.R.C., Almonte. Some Almonte craftsmen
have submitted specimens of the polished stone to a prominent geologist, with the
object of gaining information as to the effects of the elements on it through the
lapse of time, and every effort will be made to unravel the mystery surrounding the
The description leaves much to be desired. The writer says he "took an impression
of the inscription," by which is probably to be understood a rubbing. The
description of the stone as "polished" is very vague, and while the dimensions
given probably refer to the stone itself, grammatically they refer to the polished
surface. It remains doubtful whether this surface was natural, or artificial. This
makes a good deal or difference, for inscriptions cut on natural surfaces, unless
very deep and on a very large scale, very rapidly become indistinct. The
photograph of the Nova Scotia Stone reproduced in THE BUILDER, vol. x, p. 295,
shows such indistinctness very conclusively.
The crux of the inscription is naturally the date. The square and compass, in
unusual position it is true, the hand, the trowel and perhaps even the eye, may
probably be accepted as having been quite clear. The design below the trowel
looks as if intended to represent a wall of rubble Masonry, either in course of
erection, or else an unfinished part of the "inscription." Perhaps both. But the date
is naturally very difficult to accept; and if the cutting was done on a natural
surface, it is well within possibility that the second figure was 8, of which part had
been less deeply cut owing to irregularity of the surface, and had thus been
obliterated by weathering. The date 1 804 might not be too early for a pioneer
settlement in the vicinity; the ostensible date, however, seems to present such
grave difficulties as to be incredible.
The whole history of this "discovery" is a striking instance of the ignorance and
carelessness with which possible evidences of Masonic antiquity are treated. The
project of cutting out the stone was unfortunate to say the least. Better to have left
it to the weather than to have removed and lost it. On the other hand those who
condemned it off hand as a hoax or imposition were equally to blame; for that was
only to be decided by examination. If only such things could be carefully described
and impartially judged at the time of discovery, so that if genuine they might be
preserved, and if not that the fact might be authentically established! Unfortunately
most of the Craft "care for none of these things," and it is much easier to come to a
snap decision without information than it is to investigate. So some will believe
and some will reject, according to their individual disposition, while the student
can only regret that opportunities for examination were so carelessly neglected and
Other difficulties to be solved lie in the fact that the first known white man to
travel the Mississippi River, which is joined by the Indian River quite near the
Dickson farm, was Etienne Brule in 1610, not 1603 as stated above. There is, too,
the opinion of the Department of Archives at Ottawa, who wrote me after receiving
a copy of the photostat of the Inscription, that the form of the figures and letters is
different from that in use at the date they present.
As to the suggestion that the figure 6 was really an 8, 1 find on examining
Robertson's "History of Freemasonry in Canada", that there was no record of any
lodge in the vicinity of Almonte during the era of our Provincial Grand Lodges of
Upper Canada. He gives, however, details of a lodge that met at Richmond, in
Carleton County, under a warrant dated 1821, which place was a village on the
Goodwood River, some twenty miles southwest of Ottawa, in the Rideau Military
— o —
Freemasonry in South Africa
By BRO. WILLIAM MOISTER Transvaal
Bro. Moister, to whom we are indebted for this most interesting account of the
Craft in South Africa, is the Editor of the South African Masonic World. He is
also, if we have it correctly, Grand Organist of the District Grand lodge of the
The situation in South Africa will seem very strange to American Masons, and will
be very instructive. It is a striking proof that the doctrine of exclusive territorial
jurisdiction is not a Landmark, as so many believe it to be, nor is it even a
necessary regulation for the good government of the Fraternity and the
preservation of peace and harmony among the Craft
THIS brief survey of freemasonry in South Africa makes no pretense whatever to
be a History of the Craft in this sub-continent, but is written, primarily, with the
view to correcting some erroneous impressions which prevail in other countries,
and also in the hope that the information may be of use to such American brethren
as may visit these shores, and who would like to enjoy fraternal intercourse with
their South African brethren.
I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of brethren from different American
jurisdictions, and most of them have been under the impression that there is a
Grand Lodge of South Africa. Let me say at once that we have no Grand
jurisdiction at all in South Africa. The nearest approach to it is the case of the
Grand East of the Netherlands, which body has a Deputy Grand Master for South
Africa in the person of Right Wor. Bro. C. C. Silberbauer, 33d, to whom the two
Provincial grand Masters are subject, he being the direct representative of the
Grand Lodge at the Hague.
Just a word as to the order in which the four Constitutions were founded in South
Africa. The Netherlands started with Lodge de Goede Hoop (Anglice - Good
Hope) in 1772 and this Constitution was also the pioneer of Freemasonry in the
Transvaal. The English, after some military Lodges which functioned in the latter
part of the eighteenth and early in the 19th century, founded the British Lodge No.
334 in 1811. Scotland followed (also at Capetown) in 1860 with the Southern
Cross Lodge 398, but it was not until 1895 that the Irish Grand Lodge Chartered a
Lodge in South Africa, this being Abercom, No. 159.
There are now about three hundred and fifty Lodges under all four Constitutions,
English, Irish, Scottish and Netherlandic, in the Union of South Africa and
Rhodesia. At present Rhodesia has no local government in the shape of District or
Provincial Grand Lodges, although there is a movement to establish a District
Grand Lodge under the Scottish Constitution. All Lodges in these regions work
directly under their respective Grand Lodges. This was the case with many Scottish
Lodges in the Union of South Africa until a few years ago, when the District Grand
Lodge of the Eastern Province was established. The same remark applies to the
Irish lodges at the Cape (Peninsular) which did not come under the regime of the
Provincial Grand Lodge of South Africa. But a couple of years ago the Provincial
Grand Lodge of South Africa, Southern, was established at Capetown, with the
Rev. Dr. Watters as Prov. Grand Master.
The territorial divisions in South Africa, would, I imagine, appear somewhat
chaotic to the American brother who is used to clearly defined geographical
distinctions with supreme jurisdiction in each state. Constitutionally, the
boundaries overlap to a confusing extent, and as each Constitution has its own
ruling with regard to "higher" degrees, the Royal Arch, Mark Masonry, and so on,
it requires some study to grasp the position. Let me say one thing here; in English,
Irish, Scottish or Netherlandic Lodges any brother visiting Lodges in South Africa
from America will be sure of the same brotherly welcome and hospitality. All
work together for the common cause and with the utmost harmony, and in many
districts, have joint Funds of Benevolence, and Education, and the like, no
constitutional distinction being made either with regard to maintenance or benefits.
THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION.
There are five District Grand Lodges District Grand Lodge of South Africa,
Western Division, D.G.L. of S.A. Eastern Division, D.G.L. of S.A., Central
Division, D.G.L. of Natal and D.G.L. of Transvaal, under Right Wor. Bros. Thos.
N. Cranstoun-Day, J.C. Duff, Joseph Van Praagh, Daniel Saunders and G.S. Burt
Andrews respectively. The first District Grand Lodges covers the western portion
of Cape Province (formerly Cape Colony), the second has a very wide range,
extending to Matatiele in East Griqualand in the East, and as far as Heilbron in the
Orange Free State. Formerly the Lodge at De Aar came under this District but has
recently been transferred to the Central Division. The Headquarters of the Western
Division are at Capetown, of the Eastern at Port Elizabeth and the Central at
Kimberley. The D.G. Lodge of Natal has its seat at Pietermaritzburg, while that of
the Transvaal is at Freemasons' Hall, Johannesburg. This last, by the way, is the
only District Grand Lodge which owns its own building, in which most of the
English Lodges in Johannesburg also hold their meetings. The Central Division
takes in one Lodge in the Western Free State (at Koffiefontein) while several
Lodges in the Eastern portion of this Province are subject to the D. G. Lodge of
Natal. I must here remark that the term " Province " used Masonically does not
necessarily bear any relation to the word in a geographical sense. The Central
Division is the smallest of the District Grand Lodges and governs Lodges in the
Diamond Fields area and North as far as Mafeking.
THE IRISH CONSTITUTION.
As I have already remarked, the Lodges in the Cape Peninsular come within the
scope of the Prov. Grand Lodge of South Africa, Southern, while all the rest of
South Africa, including Rhodesia, is under the charge of Rt. Wor. Bro. Dr. J. G.
Croghan who resides at Johannesburg. Although starting many years later than its
Sister Constitutions, the Irish body is making splendid headway. The enthusiasm
displayed by the Irish Craft is wonderful and at the Annual Stated Communication
brethren travel many days' journey from the uttermost parts of South Africa to
THE SCOTTISH CONSTITUTION.
There are four District Grand Lodges, Western Province, Eastern Province, Natal
and Transvaal. The Transvaal D.G. Lodge includes the Orange Free State and one
Lodge in foreign Territory, Friendship Lodge at Lourenco Marques, Portuguese
East Africa. These are governed by Rt. Wor. Bros. James Murray Wilson
(Capetown), Dr. F. A. Saunders (Eastern Province), Robert R. Peattie (Natal) and
James Thompson (Transvaal). As remarked earlier, there is a movement afoot to
establish a District Grand Lodge in Rhodesia.
THE NETHERLANDS CONSTITUTION.
The affairs of this Grand Lodge are controlled from Capetown by Rt. Wor. Bro. C.
C. Silberbauer. The Provincial Grand Master at Capetown is Rt. Wor. Bro. Mossir
Alexander, K. C., who has the whole of South Africa under his charge, including
Rhodesia, while the Prov. Grand Master of the Transvaal is Rt. Wor. Bro. William
B. M. Vogts. This, the oldest Constitution in South Africa, is making good
headway, although it is small, numerically, compared with the English and Scottish
Craft. Some old Lodges under this banner are dormant, but a few have been
revived of late years while new Lodges are being formed in various parts of the
As I said above, the fact that we have these four Constitutions working together,
with some diversity of territorial jurisdiction, will seem confusing to brethren who
reside in a country where the geographical boundaries are clearly defined, and
where only one Grand body holds sway in each. The confusion is, however,
intensified when we come to the "Higher," allied or side degrees, for each
Constitution has its own peculiarities in this respect. For instance: In the English
system the Royal Arch Degree, while worked in a separate Chapter bearing the
number of the Lodge with which it is identified (although not always the same
name) is regarded as part of "Pure and Antient" Freemasonry, and a
complementary degree to that of Master Mason. The brother who holds the rank of
District Grand Master is, as a rule, the Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch,
though this is not an invariable rule. At Capetown the District Grand Master is Rt.
Wor. Bro. Cranstoun-Day, while the Office of Grand Superintendent is held by the
Deputy District Grand Master, M. E. Comp. W. J. Gibbons. In all the other
Districts the Grand Supt. is the District Grand Master.
In the Mark Degree the Office of District Grand Master is usually held by another
distinguished brother. This degree, although it has the Duke of Connaught as
Grand Master, is not actually recognized as part of Craft Freemasonry, under the
English Constitution, but with the Scottish it is different. Any Craft Lodge may
work the Mark degree, and some do; but in the Transvaal the degree is usually
worked in a R. A. Chapter. In the English one may take the R. A. without the
Mark, but not in the Scottish or Irish. And a Master Mason may proceed to the
Rose Croix without any intermediate degree under the English rule, but not with
the Scottish. In the last named Constitution there is a degree, "Excellent Master,"
which comes before the Royal Arch, and an English Companion has to retire while
this is being worked, though an Irish Companion is only required to take a short
obligation, as it is considered that the Irish R. A. approximates to the Scottish
sufficiently to permit the Companion to remain in the Chapter while it is being
worked. There are other degrees associated with the Royal Arch in the Scottish
working, the R. A. Mariner, Knights of the Sword, Knights of the East and Knights
of the East and West, and the Installed Degrees pertaining thereto, as well as the
Cryptic degrees. The R.A. does not appear to be worked by the Netherlandic
Constitution, although there are a few Rose Croix Chapters operating in South
Africa. They have, I believe, some other degrees of which I cannot say anything,
excepting that they are associated with the Rose Croix system.
THE HIGHER DEGREES.
The Ancient and Accepted Rite, and the A. and A. Scottish Rite have several
Chapters Rose Crois (18d). In the case of the English, there are under the control of
two Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, 111. Bro. G. S. Burt Andrews, for
Northern South Africa, and 111. Bro. J. C. Duff for the Southern portion, while 111.
Bro. James Thompson is the Sov. Grand Inspector General of the Transvaal for the
Scottish body. As a rule the members of the Rose Croix are all brethren who have
served the Craft with distinction, and the degree may be considered an exclusive
one. After passing the Chair of Most Wise Sovereign in a Rose Croix Chapter a
brother is usually recommended by the Chapter for the 30d, which is as high as
most brethren ever get. There are very few (probably not more than a score) of 3 1 d
and 32d Masons in South Africa, while it is not until a brother is appointed to the
charge of a territory as Sov. Grand Inspector General that he has the honour of the
33d conferred on him. There are other orders such as the Knights Templar and the
Order of the Secret Monitor working here, but their numbers are limited, and few
of the rank and file of the Craft enter them.
I have noticed that the "Higher degrees" seem to command a large support in
America, and this is, probably, because where very large Lodges exist, the brethren
naturally seek for other channels of advancement. With us the Lodge is a small
unit, many Lodges containing perhaps twenty to thirty active members. We
consider a Lodge of a hundred a large one. Our opportunities for advancement in
the Craft proper, therefore, are greater than seems to be the case in the United
States, five to ten years being long enough in the ordinary way for a brother to
attain the Chair of King Solomon, while there are the further prospects of
advancement in District or Provincial Grand Lodge rank.
The four Constitutions unite in supporting Masonic Charities in most Districts and
Provinces. We have only one District which can boast of "Bricks and Mortar" in
this respect, namely the Transvaal, which has a fine Masonic Hostel for boys at
Boksburg, a few miles from Johannesburg. There is every prospect of a similar
institution for girls being established in the near future, while another scheme
which has been mooted from time to time is the foundation of a Hostel for aged
brethren and widows. The Boys' Home is under the auspices of the Transvaal
Masonic Educational Institution, while the relief of aged and indigent brethren and
their widows and dependents is undertaken by the Transvaal Masonic Benevolent
Fund. In addition to this, most District and Prov. Grand Lodges have their own
Benevolent Fund, as has every Private Lodge.
The only District Grand Lodge which owns a building is that under the English
Constitution for the Transvaal. Freemasons' Hall in Johannesburg was acquired
some years ago, and the Offices of District Grand Lodge are in this fine building.
Most of the English Lodges in the city meet there. In some other cases a building is
owned jointly by two or three Lodges under different Constitutions. Most Lodges
in the country, even the smallest towns, have their own building; sometimes used
entirely for Masonic purposes, and sometimes let for entertainments, public
meetings, school accommodation, and so on. There is now no Lodge meeting on
licensed premises (i.e. in hotels or restaurants). Sometimes a Parish Hall or Town
Hall is used, or a Church Schoolroom.
In the larger centres, such as Capetown, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Kimberley,
Pietermaritzburg, etc., several Lodges meet in the same building which is the
property of one or more of the Lodges in these towns.
From time to time talk of a United Grand Lodge of South Africa has filled the air,
and some abortive attempts have been made to bring this about. Personally I much
doubt if the present generation will see this consummation. Despite the many
economic advantages it would offer, the ties of loyalty to the Mother Grand
Lodges are too strong for severance. In the meanwhile the utmost harmony prevails
between the four Constitutions, the interchange of visits being general, while
cordial cooperation in Masonic Charity is the rule in all Provinces and Districts.
There is much diversity of "working" for, besides the natural differences between
the Constitutions, there is much latitude permitted, especially in the Scottish Craft,
and one may see in Johannesburg, the M. M. degree worked in at least four
different ways in as many Lodges. There is a tendency in the English Constitution
to eliminate a number of "innovations" which have crept in through association
with other Constitutions, and to return to "Emulation" work, a movement which
has the strong support of the District Grand Masters, of the Transvaal and the
Eastern and Western Divisions of South Africa.
The District and Provincial Grand Masters do a tremendous amount of travelling in
visiting the Lodges under their charge. With the advent of the motor car and
increased railway facilities this is easier than it was even so late as twenty- five to
thirty years ago; but with all these advantages the lot of the Head of a District is a
very arduous, even if a happy one.
There are now no Military Lodges, in the accepted sense of the term, in South
Africa, the last of these going away with the British forces which were stationed at
the capital cities of South Africa prior to Union in 1910. There are, however, two
lodges in Johannesburg of which the membership is confined to those who have
served their King and Country in one or another branch of His Majesty's forces.
The older of these is the Transvaal Volunteer Lodge, under the Scottish
Constitution, where one may see a Private in the Chair of K. S., and a Lt. Colonel
in one of the subordinate offices. The other was formed only recently, under the
English banner, and composed of Commissioned Officers.
In the English, Scottish and Irish Constitutions the new Worshipful Master is
installed by a Board of Installed Masters mid- way in the Installation Ceremony,
but the Netherlands Constitution has no degree of Installed Master. In view,
however, of the disability this would impose upon a Wor. Master of a Netherlandic
Lodge visiting other Constitutions, by arrangement with the three other
Constitutions this degree is worked after the Master Masons and all other brethren
have finally retired from the Lodge Room. It is not an essential feature of his
Mastership, and is only conferred as an act of courtesy for the reason above stated.
— o —
American Army Lodges in the World War The Proposed Oklahoma Lodge
By BRO. CHARLES IRWIN, Associate Editor
THERE came to my attention some years ago while reading the various Grand
Lodge Proceedings of the several Grand Jurisdictions a copy of the Grand Lodge
of Washington, 1919. In the review of the Correspondence section, p. 66, 1 came
upon the following paragraph: (under Texas, 1918):
Army Lodges were favored by this Grand Lodge and the Grand Master of
Oklahoma informed that his Army Lodge might work at Camp Bowie. Texas,
assuming no responsibility for it.
This paragraph was filed for future study and investigation but the pressure of
other matters caused it to lie dormant for quite a season.
A few years later I had occasion to attend the Christmas Services of Lincoln
Commandery, Knights Templar, Wilkinsburg, Penn., as their speaker, and there I
met Dr. Fred W. Clarke, a member of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, and from
him received further information on the subject, and the name and address of Dr.
Hugh Scott, who had been instrumental in working up the petition for the Field
Lodge in 1917.
In the course of time I corresponded with Brother Scott and from him obtained a
few more threads in the story. At the same time I wrote to Wor. Bro. William M.
Anderson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma requesting from him
copies of the petition if possible and additional items concerning the proposed
Lodge. Bro. Anderson failed to supply me with a copy of the petition but did give
me several items of information.
From these scattered data I have reconstructed a brief and very unsatisfactory
account of the proposed Field Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, to be
located in Camp Bowie, Texas. The account should be incorporated for
completeness sake in the records we have been publishing in THE BUILDER, and
in fact will conclude them. The following is a letter from Grand Secretary W. M.
Anderson, of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, dated July 15, 1929:
"I have been holding response to your latest communication in the hope that we
might possibly be able to locate a little additional information concerning the army
lodge which was proposed by the Grand Jurisdiction of Oklahoma, but our records
contain no reference to it.
"Dr. Hugh Scott was to be the first Worshipful Master, but he was transferred
before the organization was consummated. There were 1 8 signers to the petition,
which was placed in the hands of the then Grand Master, Brother Joseph W.
Morris, who made a trip down there. Grand Master Morris informed me that he
was going to grant a dispensation, and the dispensation was made out. When the
organization failed neither the dispensation nor the petition was returned to this
office, and Grand Master Morris made no reference to it in his annual address to
the Grand Lodge.
"Dr. Scott was for some time in charge of U. S. Veterans Hospital No. 90, at
Muskogee, Oklahoma, but something like two years ago he was transferred to
another hospital in one of the suburbs of Chicago, I believe.
"Fraternally yours, 'WM. M. ANDERSON, "Grand Secretary."
I obtained contact with Dr. Scott at the U. S. Veterans' Hospital at Maywood,
Illinois, and requested from him a statement as to this proposed lodge. Bro. Scott
most courteously made reply, and in his communication informed me as follows:
"An attempt was made in the Field Hospital Section of the 1 1 1th Sanitary Train,
36th Division, at Camp Bowie, Texas, in the winter of 1917 to organize a Military
Lodge. The Field Hospital Section of the 1 1 1th Sanitary Train was made up largely
of young men from Oklahoma. I had organized and trained these four Field
Hospitals, and had a very deep interest in their welfare. The men were all of a very
high type and a large number of them were Master Masons. Believing that if a
Military Lodge were organized and maintained in the Field Hospital Section from
Camp Bowie to France, that it would promote the morale and a deeper interest in
the welfare of the members of the organization. After considerable correspondence
with the officials of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, who manifested a very marked
interest, Brother Moses Anderson, arrived at Camp Bowie, to install the officers
who had been selected. However, the installation was delayed pending the arrival
of Grand Master Joe Morris of Oklahoma, and by the time of the arrival of Brother
Anderson and Grand Master Morris, it was my misfortune to have been suddenly
transferred from the organization to Camp Colt, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
"I think largely because of the fact that I was the Commanding Officer of the four
hospitals and had initiated the effort, that on amount of my transfer interest ceased
and all plans were suspended and finally dropped, as the 36th Division was soon
To show how interested Dr. Scott was in Masonry and in its development within
the military service, I am permitted to quote further from his interesting letter:
"After my arrival at Camp Colt, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I continued my
Masonic activities and was the means of having a great number of soldiers petition
for the Scottish Rite Degrees at a Consistory, the name of which I have now
forgotten, but some distance removed from Gettysburg."
Going back to the proposed Military Lodge at Camp Bookie, Texas, Dr. Scott
enlarges upon their proposed plans by stating:
"I do not now recall all the officers who had been Selected, but remember that the
Worshipful Master to be, was Dr. C. R. McDonald, of Mannford, Oklahoma."
In another letter from W. Bro. Anderson, dated Dec. 18, 1928, he says:
"The proposed Worshipful Master of this Army Lodge was Dr. Hugh F. Scott, then
a Colonel, who had charge of the Ambulance Corps of the 1 12th Ambulance Train
at Camp Donavan in our State. Colonel Scott was transferred to Philadelphia (error
for Gettysburg), Pa., just at that time and there was none to take his place as
Worshipful Master of the proposed Army Lodge and so it never materialized. The
demits that accompanied the petition for this dispensation were returned to the
brethren who had signed the petition for such a lodge and thus it ended."
Some discrepancy is thus apparent between Bro. Scott's recollection and Bro.
Thus through the unavoidable military orders that transferred the proposed Master
of this proposed Military Lodge Oklahoma was deprived of sending into the Field
a fine group of enthusiastic Masons under a warrant. Nevertheless this group went
across the ocean and did their duty to "God, their country, their neighbor and
With this brief sketch, which I am inserting in the series in order that the record
may be as complete as possible for the benefit of later investigators into Military
Masonry during the World War, I am bringing to a close this part of the labor of
the love that has traced throughout the Union and across several continents traces
of these officially organized activities of our American Craft. I have been
exceedingly careful to make no statements based on hearsay, but have verified
every one of them prior to giving them utterance.
I wish to take this opportunity to convey to my host of Masonic friends who
occupy either official positions in the several grand Lodges, or were identified in
official positions in the several Field Lodges, or who as members of the Field
Lodges gave me unstinted assistance in the collection of data. The past ten years in
which I have been collecting this material have widened my own Masonic horizon
and have given me an insight into the philosophy of Masonry that could have come
to me in no other manner.
The next stage of our records will cover the more informal activities of Masons
which brought about the formation of Masonic Clubs. Some of the overseas
lodges, it will be recalled, took their rise in, or were connected with such clubs, but
on the whole the two types of organization seem to call for separate treatment. I
hope to be able to commence the new series early in the coming year.
In uttering a closing greeting to my readers I would urge upon them the great
value, as well as pleasure, to be obtained, in the taking up of some definite line of
research, and pushing it out further and further until definite results are achieved. It
is by such endeavor, pursued sometimes it may be through a sort of patient
drudgery, that the history of the Craft is to be preserved and put upon permanent
— o —
A Problem for the Order of the Eastern Star
By BRO. ROBERT C. WRIGHT, Oregon
THE object of this present discussion is, first, to supply some facts, historical and
scientific; second, to put the question squarely before the powers that be in the O.
E. S.; shall the legend of Jephthah's Daughter he eliminated and something more
elevating and appropriate be substituted in its place?
The writer is a Past Patron and feels justified in pointing the way to something
better fitted for the good old order. Therefore let us not "get all fussed up pronto"
and call this a destructive attack, but sympathetically analyze the problem. Let it be
determined whether or not the O. E. S. shall put its house in order and cease
teaching the innocent and unthinking ones a harrowing and sordid tale which
would not for one moment be considered as suitable for any ritual, if concerned
with purported acts occurring today in real life.
Jephthah's origin was such that he was an insignificant person and, associating
with fools, betrayed his tendency to be a fool. (Judges xi, 1-3) He is one of four
mentioned in The Scripture who made imprudent vows, and the only one of these
who is reported to have had occasion to deplore his imprudence. Some
commentators dispute the account and say he only kept his daughter in seclusion.
Others regard his acts as criminal, for he could have applied to Phinehas, the High
Priest, to absolve him from his vow. But he was an arrogant soldier, and proud;
therefore he said, "I, a judge of Israel, will not humble Myself to my inferior."
Neither would Phinehas go to Jephthah. Therefore we are confronted with two
premises, either the account is untrue and we teach untruth or it is true and we
teach a crime.
Jewish tradition relates that both Jephthah and Phinehas were punished. Jephthah
died by an unnatural decay of his body, fragments of flesh falling at intervals from
his bones, to be buried where they fell, his body being attacked in many places.
Phinehas was abandoned by the Holy Spirit. The rabbis considered Jephthah an
ignorant man, for he should have known that a vow of that kind was not valid.
According to Rabbi Johanan, Jephthah had merely to pay a certain sum to the
Temple treasury in order to be freed of the vow. According to Rabbi Simeon ben
Lakish, he was freed even without such payment. According to other authorities,
even when Jephthah made the vow the Lord was angry with him.
The request of his daughter to go into the mountain to bewail her virginity lends
color to the assertion that he secluded her in the manner that nuns take the vow of
chastity in their chosen life. It was a custom in Israel. (Judges xi, 37-39) Had an
unclean animal, which could not be offered as a sacrifice, come out of his premises
instead of his daughter, what would Jephthah have done in such a dilemma? His
vow and the character of the sacrifice would have been in utter conflict, and the
vow would have had to fail. Was it not more important that it should fail for his
daughter than for an unclean animal ?
When about to proceed, his daughter inquired: "Is it written in the Torah that
human beings shall be brought as burnt offerings?" He replied: "My daughter, my
vow was, whatever cometh forth of the doors of my house." She answered: "But
Jacob too vowed that he would give to Yaveh the tenth part of all that Yaveh gave
him. Did he sacrifice his sons?" (Gen. xxviii, 22) Jephthah remained inflexible, and
the daughter declared that she would go to the Sanhedrim to consult them about the
vow, and -for that purpose asked for a delay of two months. The daughter was
right. Nowhere does Jewish law require a human burnt sacrifice. The kind of
sacrifice is clearly set forth for everyone "that will offer his oblations for all his
vows, and for all his free-will offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a
burnt offering." The clean animals to be offered are specified (Lev. xxii, 18-33),
the law requiring the offering to be eaten the same day. If then Jephthah obeyed the
law in that respect he would have been a cannibal and the whole affair degraded to
the lowest order of savages. A vow, interpreted under this law, to include a human
sacrifice is as unlawful as if strained to include an unclean animal. (Deut. xvii, 1)
Israel was forbidden to follow the abomination of the idolators in the land of
Canaan. (Deut. xviii, 9-14) Among these abominations was the burnt offering of
their sons and daughters. This the Lord hateth, and what he commandeth, thou
shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it. (Deut. xii, 31-32)
Even the singular vow of Jephthah could have been overcome by payment to the
Temple of a penance or ransom. (Lev. iv, 2) The account seems in fact to indicate
that she was consecrated by her father to a virgin life. He had no other to
perpetuate his name, hence that was a real sacrifice, and the custom was such that
the daughters of Israel lamented it every four years. (Judges xi, 37- 40) A perusal
of the law should fully bear out what is above set forth, and convince all fair-
Three possible constructions of the legend are apparent in fulfilling the vow. First,
the consecration to a virgin life. Second, release by payment to the Temple. Third,
actual immolation as a burnt sacrifice. The ritual does not contemplate either of the
first two, as they do not fit into its purported lesson at all. It has always taught the
Assume that the horrible tale is literally true, and further that Jephthah knew the
law of consecration and ransom and that human sacrifice was an abomination and
forbidden. Assume that he was thoroughly counselled as to all this during the two
months' delay. The scientific conclusion is irresistible, that Jephthah, the arrogant
soldier, who could slay forty-two thousand Ephraimites in cold blood and did not
hesitate to sacrifice his own daughter, was insane, a paranoiac. The unfortunate
Ephraimites were of Israel, related to him. Human nature has not changed since
that day and proof exists now. Undoubtedly Jephthah suffered from an insane
delusion that because he had made the vow to the Lord it must be carried out
literally. A delusion is the product of an insane belief, a false conception or idea
arising from a disordered mind. Argument will convince the sane of error, but
nothing will convince the insane.
In March, 1925, at Oroville, Cal., one, Sharlow, offered himself as a sacrifice to
the Holy Ghost in a cult he had joined. His head and the soles of his feet were
burned with the sign of the cross and from these tortures he died.
In January, 1925, a Mr. Bingaman in Pennsylvania, killed two of his children and
caused his aged father to die of excitement witnessing this. Bingaman was a
paranoiac with religious delusions. He told the officers: "I did right. The spirit told
me to kill them and I did."
True occurrences of this kind could be multiplied, but sufficient are these. The O.
E. S. naturally would not use any of them to base lessons upon, because of their
repugnant hideousness. If the acts of Jephthah are equally insane, the O. E. S. is
confronted with the full force of the ritualistic view it takes, which is indisputably a
literal human sacrifice. The author of the ritual surely was hasty and did not give
this portion of the ritual the careful study he should have given it. He had a choice
beyond any question among many other women whose lives and characters are
noble and elevating.
The serious question proposed in the beginning of this article is timely. It is not too
late. It should be solved calmly and without prejudice, for the real good of the
Order and its thousands of loyal members. Historical matter and references herein
have been carefully sought out. The record is submitted for a decision.
Reformation never comes until error is pointed out. When that occurs, reformation
should come speedily. There should be no clinging to anything because of some
fancied notion that long use and familiarity with it have clothed it with imaginary
beauty or lesson of duty. No falsehood, no hideous thing should be retained and
worshipped in like manner as the savage of Africa worships his fetich. The writer
hopefully awaits the day when something finer and grander shall replace this
portion of the ritual.
— o —
An Old Masonic Apron
By BRO. GEORGE R. RAUB, Michigan
EARLY in the fall of 1928, Bro. R. J. Meekren, Editor of THE Builder, saw a
description of an old Masonic apron in the Masonic Home Journal. This notice was
a transcription of one which appeared in the daily press of Detroit, Michigan,
during the Knight Templar Conclave held there from July 14th to 18th 1928, and
which dealt with an apron in the possession of Mr. John Eldredge of Detroit and
purporting to have been made in London in the year 1727. The article has been
reprinted many times in Masonic journals and I am pleased to furnish an account
of the investigation made to prove or disprove the authenticity of the statements
The article as published contained a description of the material and colors of the
apron and stated that it was of Scottish Rite design. The balance of the account was
composed of the Masonic connections of the present owner and his father, together
with some historical data of the period in which the apron was presumed to have
been made and a chronological list of the members of the family through whose
hands it had passed.
Bro. Meekren realized that if the claims made for the apron were true, that Mackey
and other authorities were wrong. Mackey says: -
Silk or satin aprons, bespangled, painted and embroidered, which have been
gradually creeping into our lodges, have no sort of connection with Antient Craft
Masonry. They are an innovation of our French Brethren who are never pleased
with simplicity ....
A Mason who understands and appreciates the true symbolic meaning of his apron
would no more tolerate a painted or embroidered satin one than an artist would a
According to the Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London
Masons wore long leather aprons in 1727.
Bro. Meekren addressed a letter to Mr. Eldredge and asked for proof of the age of
the apron. He was not satisfied with the reply and addressed a second
communication to Mr. Eldredge who failed to reply.
It was then that Bro. Meekren turned to the Service Commission of the Grand
Lodge of Michigan, whose head-quarters are in Detroit, and asked if some local
Mason would be willing to investigate the story of the apron and if possible
determine whether the claims made for it were correct.
The Secretary of the Service Commission delegated the task to me.
I felt that the apron would in itself constitute proof of its age. I have always
marvelled at the efficacy of the scientists in changing man's cosmological
conception of the universe. Nature alters, but does not eradicate; all things are
homogenetic to the period in which they are created; accordingly I looked to
science to give the required information about the apron. At my request Adele C.
Weibel, Curator of Textiles of the Detroit Institute of Arts, agreed to make a
technical examination of the apron, providing I could bring the apron to the Art
Institute for examination.
With this object in view I called Mr. Eldredge and made an appointment to see
him. I did not know why he had dropped the correspondence with Bro. Meekren
and thought I might experience some difficulty in persuading him to submit the
apron to an expert for examination. I was pleased to find that my fears were
unnecessary. Mr. Eldredge is a frank, open-minded, lovable gentleman, who has
seen sixty-eight years of life; he has been sober and industrious and he has no
feeling against mankind in spite of the fact that at his advanced age he is still
dependent upon his daily wage in a Detroit automobile factory for subsistence.
His paternal forefathers for six generations have been Masons. Mr. Eldredge said
that although he held the Fraternity in high esteem he had never petitioned for
membership in a Masonic lodge His father had been honored with the 33 rd Degree
and had devoted his whole life to its interests. As a boy he seldom saw his father,
who was away from home working for the lodge. That his character had been
molded by these experiences is doubtless true. He had always been interested in his
home and when he married he found the whole world in the companionship of his
wife His reminiscences of week-ends spent camping and fishing with his wife are
interesting, but they are not directly connected with the investigation.
I was told that he had stopped writing "to the man in St. Louis," because he had
told everything he knew about the apron and was at a loss to say anything more.
He had no documentary evidence with which to prove the age of the apron. There
had been such documents but they were destroyed in a flood in the Allegheny
Valley in the 70's. However, he had an account written by his Aunt Delia, who was
born in 1807, from her memory of the originals.
This apron was made by Katherine Fink and given to John Dredge in 1727 as a
present and wan handed to his son Horace E. Eldredge in 1752, and Horace E.
Eldredge handed it to his son Haskins Eldredge in 1786. Haskins handed it to his
son Alanzo Eldredge in 1 807, and Alanzo Eldredge to his son Hezakiah Eldredge
in 1831, and Hezakiah handed it to his son Hykins in 1 847, and Hykins handed it
to his son, Frank, the present owner, in 1883.
The border of the apron is a light red. This was not the original border, I was told.
The original was so badly rotted that in 1883 he and his mother, under his father's
supervision, had sewed on the new one. They put it on as nearly to the original as
was possible. He made the folds and his mother did the sewing. The original
border, as remembered, was a sort of peach color; it was badly faded.
Years ago the Editor of the Cincinnati Inquirer had tried to buy the apron, but he
had always refused to sell it. He hadn't thought about selling it until last summer.
His housekeeper had explained that inasmuch as he had no one to leave the apron
to he would be justified in selling it and that at his age the money that might be
derived from its sale would do him far more good than would the apron.
When the Knight Templar Conclave was held they called a newspaper and gave
them the story of the apron, thinking that the attention of some Mason who wanted
such a relic might be attracted.
He agreed gladly to submit the apron to the Curator of the Art Institute whenever it
would be convenient for me to take it there.
On the afternoon of the 21st of May, 1929, accompanied by Mr. Eldredge's
housekeeper, I took the apron to the Art Institute and Mrs. Weibel examined it. Her
opinion was that it was impossible for the apron to have been made in 1727. The
cloth was woven on a power loom and they did not exist at that time. The kind of a
loom on which the cloth was woven did not come into existence until the last
quarter of the 1 8th century. She thought the cloth was several years old at the time
the designs were put on it, as the style of costume as shown on the two cherubims
was created about 1825. On the back of the apron is found the date 1727. The ink
is the color of walnut juice. Mrs. Weibel said that from the style of figures used
that must have been written about 1 830.
Brother Hills, Librarian of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, was kind enough to search
the old Masonic records for the name of Eldredge, but to no avail. This, of course,
proves nothing because the records are only fragmentary.
I believe that the present owner of the apron has been honest and sincere from the
beginning. I am positive that somewhere a gross discrepancy has crept into the
family tradition. The "1727" that appears on the back of the apron might mean that
the first Eldredge was made a Mason in 1727; or that the first Eldredge made a
Mason was bom in 1727. Someone has made the mistake of believing that the date
signified the age of the apron.
I am inclined to think that there is a Masonic connection between the Eldredge
family and the date 1727; but I am positive that the apron itself has nothing to do
with that connection. I am willing to accept the report of Mrs. Weibel as that of a
competent authority and base my further conclusions upon her statements.
— o —
A Canadian Masonic Manual
BY BRO. A. J. B. MILBORNE, Canada
THERE recently came into my possession a copy of the very rare Mason's Manual
issued by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada in the year 1818. The book
is leather bound, measuring 5 1/4 by 8 3/4 inches, find contains 1 14 pages with an
Index. It was printed at 'The New Printing Office," by T. Cary, Junr. & Co., No. 21
Buade Street, Quebec.
From the Preface we learn that "the design of this little work was suggested by the
Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Brother Snelling," and that it was
. . intended to supersede the inconveniences which all the subordinate lodges, and
particularly those in remote situations, have hitherto suffered so much by, and to
prevent the regularities they have fallen into, arising frequently from a want of
acquaintance with the regulations as laid down in the BOOK OF NEW
CONSTITUTIONS," unanimously accepted by the United Grand Lodge of
England, at the memorable epoch when the Interests of ANCIENT and MODERN
MASONS were cemented forever in one Grand Plan of perpetual Union, under the
name of UNITED ANCIENT FREEMASONS OF ENGLAND" and subsequently
recognized and acted upon by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada.
The volume is dedicated to H.R.H., the Duke of Kent, Past Grand Master of
Masons in Lower Canada, a wood cut portrait of whom forms the frontispiece.
At the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge Lower Canada held on the
2nd day of March, 1818, was resolved unanimously that "all the Rules laid down in
said Code (i.e., The Mason's Manual) shall be the sole and only Laws for the
Government of the Craft, hereby repealing all those promulgated by this Grand
Lodge, that are not therein contained." It was also resolved "That every person
initiated into Masonry in this Province shall have a Copy of the MASON'S
MANUAL delivered to him by the Secretary of the Lodge, who shall account for
the same to the Grand Secretary."
In addition to the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Craft, the
Grand Lodge and Private Lodges, there is an Appendix containing the Installation
and Funeral Ceremonies, various Charges and Prayers, and
... it being very essential, in order to preserve due decorum when the Craft are at
refreshment, and on other occasions, that no songs, but such as are truly Masonic,
or such as are moral and chaste, should be used, the compilers of this little work
have inserted a few that are Strictly so, which they beg to recommend to the
One of these songs was written by Bro. Thomas Bennett, P. G. S. of the Grand
Lodge of Nova Scotia.
The "Short Charge to a new admitted Mason" is practically the same as that printed
in the Irish Pocket Companion of 1734 (See THE BUILDER, Vol. XI, page 158),
except that the phrase "the greatest monarchs in all ages," etc., has been altered to
read "the greatest monarchs, governors and rulers in all ages, as well of ASIA,
AFRICA and EUROPE as of AMERICA, have been encouragers of the ROYAL
There are a number of Christian references in the Prayers and Charges. The
Manual also contains a set of "Rules recommended to the serious attention of every
Christian FreeMason" as well as "A Christian Masonic Hymn on the Nativity of
our Blessed Saviour," written by the Rev. Bro. Doty of Three Rivers, Lower
Many of the Regulations are of more than ordinary interest, particularly those
concerning the appointment of the Provincial Grand Master. Prior to the Union of
1813 the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada had apparently assumed
powers it did not possess, and had come to consider itself as a sovereign body. The
Charters which it had granted were carried on the Provincial Grand Registry only,
and few, if any, returns were made to the Grand Lodge of England. This
assumption of sovereign power was not deliberate, but appears to have grown up
as a result of the difficulties incident to those days when the means of
communication with the Mother Country were irregular and slow, and at a time
when, happily for the Craft, the spirit of Masonry was stronger than the letter of its
constitutional structure. Following the retirement of H. R. H., the Duke of Kent,
from the office of Provincial Grand Master of Lower Canada, to which he had been
appointed in 1792 by Warrant issued under the authority of John, fourth Duke of
Athole, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, " Ancients, " the Provincial
Grand Lodge met on the 27th December, 1811, and "elected" the Hon. Claude
Denechau to succeed him. The irregularity of this proceeding is now apparent from
a reading of the regulations contained in the Manual, where it is stated that the
appointment of the Provincial Grand Master is a prerogative of the Grand Master
of England. It is known that Denechau applied to England for a Patent, so that it
may be presumed that the "election" was a temporary expedient to meet the
peculiar situation that had arisen. That a Patent was essential to the holding of the
office is also clear, for the Regulation goes on to provide that the Provincial Grand
Master was to be installed on the 27th December annually, " provided his Patent
has been obtained this phrase being in italics. W. Bro. Pemberton Smith of St. Paul
's Lodge, E.R. Montreal, has drawn my attention to the fact that nowhere in the
Manual is any reference made to the Hon. Claude Denechau, the Manual itself
being issued by the "Committee," and under the sanction of the R.W. Bro. William
Handheld Snelling, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, which, he writes, "shows
a proper Masonic modesty and sense of discipline on Denechau's part." In spite of
the absence of the Patent, Denechau, however, exercised the functions of his
office, even to the granting of Warrants, but he regularized these Warrants after his
Patent had been received in 1 820 by ratifying them.
A curious claim is made in Regulation 9;
The Provincial Grand Lodge has also the inherent power ... Of suspending those
(Lodges) of other registers.
It is to be hoped that no attempt was ever made to exercise this power.
The Regulations provided that all the Grand Lodge Officers were to be appointed
by the Provincial Grand Master; the appointment of the Grand Treasurer, however,
was to be made from three Brethren nominated by the Grand Lodge. Lodge
representation in the Grand Lodge was limited to the Master, Wardens and one
Past Master from every warranted Lodge.
In the rules for the regulation of Private Lodges, it is provided that no person shall
be initiated or admitted if three black balls appear against him; that
... no other Lodge shall initiate into Masonry, any non- commissioned officer
belonging to a Regiment or Battalion, to which a military Lodge is attached, nor
shall any Lodge initiate any military person below the rank of Corporal, except as a
serving brother, or by dispensation . . .
no Lodge shall make a Mason for a less sum than Three Pounds, exclusive of the
Graham, in his History of Freemasonry in the Province of Quebec, written in 1892,
refers to the rarity of the Mason 's Manual, and although I have found references to
it in the Minutes of some of the older Quebec Lodges, the only other copy that I
know of is in the possession of Golden Rule Lodge, No. 5, at Stanstead, which,
incidentally, happens to be the mother lodge of the Editor of THE BUILDER.
With the slow and haphazard communications of a hundred years ago it is not at all
strange that with the best will in the world to abide by Masonic law, the brethren in
Canada were forced into many irregularities. Even the home authorities added to
these by their discrepant and sometimes contradictory actions. And in addition
were the complications following on the existence of two Grand lodges in England,
both warranting lodges in the new world.
The Duke of Kent was inconsistently enough recognized by both bodies, though
originally belonging to neither, for he was initiated in Switzerland. But it would
appear that "Ancients" and "Moderns" in Canada were on fairly good terms with
each other. At least when the Duke was about to leave Quebec for the West Indies
in 1794, a joint address from the representatives of the two systems was presented
to him, expressing a lope that his "conciliating influence" might lead to a reunion.
A hope which was well founded, for he with his brother, the Duke of Sussex,
presided over the amalgamation of the two rival bodies into the United Grand
Lodge of England.
The Canadian brethren had requested that he should be appointed Provincial Grand
Master for the whole of Canada, and he to appoint Deputy Provincial Grand
Masters for Upper and Lower Canada, respectively, and this the Grand Lodge
evidently wished very much to do, only Rt. Wor. Bro. Jarvis had already been
selected when this petition was received.
— o —
R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
BOARD OF EDITORS
LOUIS BLOCK. Iowa
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
R.V. HARRIS, Canada
C.C HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
A.L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
F.H. LITTLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
JESSE M. WHTED, California
DAVID E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
E.E. THIEMEYER, Missouri
THE RESEARCH EDITOR
IN his "Farewell" and apologia pro labore suo as Research Editor of THE
BUILDER, Bro. E.E. Thiemeyer quite neglected to give any indication of his
reasons for relinquishing the position. The explanation is very simple. Some time
ago he got married, and he now finds it necessary to find some more remunerative
employment than Masonic Research. His salary has only been a nominal one, and
it was only because he had other sources of income that he was in a position to
undertake the tasks he has so ably and zealously performed since his appointment
some three years ago. No one but the Editor can begin to appreciate how much
Bro. Thiemeyer has done, or the value of his assistance in the carrying on the work
of the Society. The Editor may confess to having had some hope that Bro.
Thiemeyer might be his successor, and thus provide for continuity in the work. But
he knew all the time that such an outcome was hardly probable. The Research
Society, the Graft in general, cannot expect young men of outstanding ability to
devote their lives to such work as this, without paying something more for it than
the day wages of a carpenter or bricklayer.
But we do not expect to lose Bro. Thiemeyer entirely He will take a place on the
Board of Associate Editors, and we shall continue to have the benefit of his advice
and suggestions. We wish him success in his new undertakings, and with his gifts
and energy there is little doubt that he will attain it.
* * *
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MASONIC EDITORS
IN the August number of the Masonic Digest, Bro. Reynold E. Blight, himself the
editor, expressed himself upon this subject. We gather that the pronouncement was
not made in vacuo, that is, it was not merely the exposition of a theme, but that it
had reference to some local differences of opinion among the brethren in
California, or at least in Los Angeles. This was made more apparent by the
publication in the succeeding issue of letters from a number of brethren of
prominence, warmly praising this editorial utterance.
While very much in agreement with most of what was said, there were certain
statements that we could only accept with some reserve. Bro. Blight said that an
"editor is not altogether a free individual," which is so true that it is almost a
truism. The only editor who is free is one who owns the periodical he directs, and
who is rich enough to pay all its expenses out of his own pocket. Even then his
freedom is limited by various laws of the state. Few, however, are in this happy
state of liberty, and the great majority of editors have to conform themselves to
some extent, greater or less, to what their readers want, or at any rate to what they
It was also stated that "no individual, no magazine, can claim to represent
Freemasonry. There is only one body authorized to speak for the Craft and that is
Grand Lodge." Naturally, for it represents the Craft, in any given Jurisdiction. But
again those who are at a distance, and who do not know the circumstances that
inspired the utterance, may wonder why anything so obvious should have to be
said, and what is more important, what it might be taken to imply.
In a succeeding paragraph it is said that the same rules that govern him in the lodge
must guide a Masonic editor in the conduct of his publication. So far as these
concern "restraint, tolerance and courtesy" and "the ideals of the fraternity" we
unhesitatingly agree. A Masonic editor is a Mason, and a Mason is bound to act
Masonically in all his dealings with his fellowmen, and especially with his
brethren. But here is where we feel it necessary to make certain reservations.
Whatever appears in the columns of a Masonic journal should be distinguished by
courtesy and restraint, and whatever is said editorially should be just and tolerant,
but it is not clear that this is all that is intended, and this doubt is increased by the
letter of M. Wor. Bro. Will H. Fischer, in which he says:
To my way of thinking, the editor of a Masonic magazine should be sensitive and
responsive to, and limited by the clearly enunciated principles, purposes and
commitments of Masonry and the policies laid down by Grand Lodge.... If there is
a difference of opinion as to principles, policies or procedure, or a desire to enter
new fields of action, policy or discussion, the same should first be discussed and
settled in Grand Lodge, or with the Grand Master, in an orderly manner.
With the particular questions at issue which it would appear are being dealt with
under these general statements it would be an impertinence for us to say anything,
even if we knew anything about them and had formed an opinion. But on the
question of the freedom of the Masonic press we have a very decided opinion and
we cannot admit that an editor has to follow the same rules in regard to his journal
that the Master of a lodge has to enforce, in regard to the subjects raised for
discussion. The two things are on different levels. There are matters that can be
discussed in lodge that could not possibly be published, and conversely there are
subjects that cannot be brought up in lodge that may very properly be treated in a
Masonic periodical, precisely because its pages are open to all the world. The
logical result of Bro. Fischer's understanding of Bro. Blight's article would lead to
a Masonic bureaucracy, and make every editor its partizan and propagandist.
Exactly the same reasons exist in American Masonry, in its present day
development, for a free press, as exist in the civil state. Democratic governing
machines are clumsy and very slow to act - they need the free and mobile criticism
of a free press both as a curb and as a spur, according to circumstances. Grand
Lodges are no more perfect than any other legislative bodies.
The limits and functions of the Masonic press is another subject that might well be
elucidated by research, and we would welcome any further discussion of the
— o —
THERE has been some discussion recently as to the fitness and propriety of
protecting the articles published in Masonic periodicals by copyright. Several of
our contemporaries have expressed the opinion that there should be no restriction
whatever on the use and promulgation of material prepared for the information and
instruction of the Craft, and this is a consideration that undoubtedly carries much
It has to be admitted that there has been a very low standard of professional ethics
in the American Masonic Press taken as a whole. This is not the place to attempt to
account for the fact, it is there and has to be regretted. The recently organized
Masonic Press Association has set very high requirements for its members, and we
have no doubt that in time its influence will have great and far-reaching effect. It
insists on the observance of the regular established usages of publication, including
the elementary and primary rule that permission be obtained to reprint articles
published elsewhere, and full credit given to the publication in which they first
As the procedure of protecting a publication legally is a very simple one, it is fair
to assume that the editor and publishers of any periodical not copyrighted tacitly
gives a general permission to reprint articles from its pages without further
formality. Though even in such cases courtesy at least would demand that it should
be explicitly asked for and received.
THE Builder has been protected by copyright from the beginning, for reasons that
we believe are fairly obvious. The articles and essays that have appeared in it are
all original, with very few exceptions, and for the most part have been the work of
members of the National Masonic Research Society. The general copyright is
intended to protect their interests. It is for the author to say what use may be made
of his work.
Our position is therefore quite simple. Contributed articles appearing under the
names of their authors should not be reprinted without permission. In most cases,
we know, such permission will be gladly given by the contributor, unless there is
some special reason for not doing so, such as an intention to republish in another
form. But so far as other material is concerned we are very glad to offer it for
general use, on the condition that full credit is given to THE Builder. And here we
must say that when such material has been reprinted in another journal, it is hardly
fair to ascribe the credit to the latter - though we have known this to be done more
There has been in the past, and still is, unfortunately, an altogether improper and
unjust view taken by members of the Craft at large toward authors and publishers
both. The laborer in general is admittedly worthy of his hire, even the ox is not to
be muzzled as he treads out the corn, but the Masonic writer is expected to work
for nothing, and the publisher is expected to give his periodical away, or at least
make concessions as to payment. And if either objects then they are straightway
held to be "commercializing" Masonry. Really it is those who expect such favors
who are exploiting Masonry, for they are demanding something for nothing on
account of the fraternal tie. We believe that if consideration is given to this the
misconception will be removed. It takes as much time and effort to write a
Masonic article as any other, and it costs as much money to publish a Masonic
journal as any other, and those who seek undue favors are themselves the
* * *
FOR several months past THE BUILDER has contained brief notices of the
charitable festivals of the Grand Lodge of England. There are three of these
festivals held annually which are of major importance. Each one is devoted to
raising funds for one of the homes operated by the Grand Lodge of England. The
Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution for Girls, the Royal Masonic Benevolent
Institution for Boys, and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution which is for old
folks and indigent Masons are the recipients of the funds subscribed at these major
It is customary in England to sell jewels for subscriptions of certain sums of money
to be devoted to these institutions. Stewardships are also for sale. The word "sale"
is perhaps harsh, but in an uncharitable attitude is correct. Either lodges or
individuals may purchase jewels or qualify as stewards. If recollection serves
aright, the fee for a lodge stewardship is considerably larger than that for an
THE BUILDER has commented favorably upon the amount of money raised at
these festivals, and made comparisons which were none too favorable with the
charity of American Grand Lodges. The recent festivals held in England produced
considerably over a million dollars for charitable purposes. This is well over an
average of $4.00 per member for the jurisdiction. With a system of contribution as
outlined above, it is evident that these funds are in excess of any deduction from
the annual dues of the members to their respective lodges, or a per capita tax by the
Grand Lodge. And this in a country where government taxes approximate 35% of
the income of the individual. It is immediately apparent that our English brethren
take their Masonic charity with a great deal of seriousness.
We are informed by a correspondent that a very large percentage of the funds
received are brought forth by social pressure exercised by lodge officers upon
those who do not seem to be inclined to contribute as liberally as they should. The
impression given in the letter to which reference is made, was that this practice is
to be condemned rather than praised. The present writer cannot concur in that
opinion, and while the following views are expressed editorially, it must be said at
the outset that they are personal, although the writer feels that the majority of the
membership of the National Masonic Research Society will concur.
Let us admit that it would be much better to secure funds for charity without
coercion if possible. Of course, the desirable thing is to have the members of the
Masonic Fraternity take their obligations of charity so seriously that there would be
no need to force them by social pressure or otherwise to contribute ample funds for
the maintenance of charitable enterprises.
There is much to be said on the other side of the question. In the first place, a
candidate petitioning for Masonic degrees has some sort of an idea that Masonry is
a charitable institution. It must be self-evident that the funds for maintenance must
come from the members. It is the general practice in America to secure these funds
by a per capita tax levied by the Grand Lodge. The amount of this levy is small,
but in theory the coercion exercised is just as strong, perhaps even stronger than
the social pressure brought to bear by lodge officers in England. Regardless of any
opinions to the contrary, the fact cannot be denied that American Masons are being
forced to contribute to their Masonic homes just as strongly as English Masons.
The difference is only in methods.
The second reason for preferring the English practice is that the charitable
obligation is brought home more forcibly under that plan than under the American
scheme. In this country a certain portion of dues is automaticaly set aside for
charitable purposes. The member pays his lodge dues and assumes that he has no
further obligations to his Masonic brethren. That is altogether the wrong attitude.
The average American Mason will contribute to all sorts of secular charity, but will
not add one penny to his dues for Masonic charity. That is perfectly all right, but it
does not enable the fraternity to practice to the full the charity which it claims lies
at its foundation.
It does not take a keen observer to realize that there are many ways in which
money could be spent by the Masons of this country to help unfortunate members
of the craft. There should not be included in this group any unworthy cause. To cite
a few examples however, we might spend money for the education of children of
Masons who could not otherwise receive proper training. The Shrine hospitals for
crippled children, which devote their attention not only to the children of Masons,
but others as well, cannot cover the entire field. More funds could be used in this
way. We might found homes for contagious cases and Masonic insane, who are not
provided for at the present time. The caring for indigent tubercular patients in the
Southwest has been mentioned so many times that it must be known to everyone
today. If American Masons were compelled by social pressure to dig in their
pocket to the extent of $4.00 per member, we would have twelve million dollars a
year to devote to such worthy enterprises. In following such a practice, we would
be helping others who would be willing to help us, if their obligations meant
anything to them, instead of helping people in whom we have no interest whatever,
except that interest of pity which any normal human being has toward one less
fortunate. In other words, there is money devoted to general charity today which
would do just as much good, and perhaps more, if it was devoted to Masonic
charity. That these outside charitable organizations would miss the Masonic
contributions is doubtful. The Masonic Fraternity would relieve them of enough
charges to make up whatever depletion in funds they might suffer and Masonry be
credited with adequately caring for its own. In other words, what is being
advocated here is nothing more than the old adage that " Charity begins at home."
The American plan does not provide sufficient funds for these purposes, as has
been said. Perhaps the English plan also fails. However, it is certain that by
bringing pressure to bear, every member of the Masonic Fraternity in England is
forced to realize that he is abiding by his obligations, and that is as it should be. If
men will not live up to oaths of honor willingly, they should be made to do so
forcibly. It would doubtless be well if the forty-nine American Grand Lodges
would adopt the English plan in regard to contributions for charitable enterprises.
We would have more money for charity, and American Masons would be made to
realize that the Masonic Fraternity was an active organization, and not one whose
emblem was a means of getting more business, or simply a form of odd age
— o —
Chronicle and Comment
A Review of Masonry the World Over
The Question of Plural Membership
The breaking down of the prejudice in the American Craft against a brother
belonging to more than one lodge at the same time seems well under way. Not only
is Michigan seriously considering the matter, but it has been definitely proposed in
Idaho and New Jersey. In the former Grand Lodge two resolutions were
introduced, according to the Idaho Freeman, but "on account of the importance of
the subject and the press of other business the matter was withdrawn from
consideration for the present."
In New Jersey the Grand Master recommended it and proposed regulations to
govern it. The Committee on the Address reported it to the Grand Lodge, but on a
technical objection it was laid over for action at the next Annual Communication.
The Grand Lodge of Oregon has also taken it up, and has a committee studying the
problem. An article by R. W. Bro. L. W. Matthews, a member of this committee,
appeared in the October number of the Masonic Analyst, from which we gather
that probably the committee will not only report favorably, but will offer weighty
arguments for relaxing the unnecessary restrictions that have become traditional in
A Ruling on Dimits
Several of our contemporaries have been recently discussing a ruling of the Grand
Master of Louisiana which appeared in the Proceedings of that Grand Lodge in
1928. This was to the effect that a lodge is justified before granting a dimit in
demanding not only a payment of all dues but also a pro rata share of all the lawful
indebtedness of the lodge.
As the decision was not commented on by the committee on the Grand Master's
Address, it is to be presumed that it was accepted as in accordance with Louisiana
Masonic Law. It has not, however, met with approval elsewhere. The Idaho
Freemason points out that if this be granted, injustice the demitted brother should
receive a pro rata share of the assets of a lodge also. The logic is unimpeachable.
The Masonic Chronicler says that in Illinois a lodge cannot levy any assessment on
its members, and the Tyler-Key stone commenting on this states that the same is
true of Michigan.
There might be specific eases where such a demand might be fairly made, but
stated as a general rule it is dangerous, and could possibly work the gravest
injustice on individuals.
The Solicitation of Candidates
The following paragraph appeared in the August issue of the Illinois Freemason:
A good many old Masons hold up their hands in horror if anybody suggests that
Masonic lodges might, with propriety, make a modest solicitation for members. If
Masonry is a good thing why should we not be permitted to tell our friends about it
and suggest to them that it would be to their advantage to become members of the
society. The facts are that four- fifths of all petitions received in lodges today result
from someone having presented the value of Masonry to a friend.
While not holding up our hands in horror, or any other emotion, we certainly
believe the suggestion is a mistaken one. There is a sound practical and
psychological basis for the rule that no one should ever be solicited to become a'
Mason, it is not merely a tradition. It does not follow that a "good thing" for some
men is a good thing for all; and Freemasonry is a peculiar institution, its nature is
such that only those who are attracted to it of their own motion are at all likely to
prove good Masons. It is not true that every good man can be a good Mason. In
addition to being just, upright and honorable, he must have that peculiar
predisposition that can appreciate ritual and symbolism and the ideal of fraternity.
There are many excellent and admirable men in whom this is entirely lacking.
Masonic Emblems on Auto Radiators
Recently this subject was brought up in the Grand Lodge of New York. No definite
prohibition was enacted, but the brethren of that Jurisdiction have been requested
to cease from following the practice - those of them who had adopted it.
We should hardly have thought this matter of sufficient importance to mention,
were it not for the feet that it seems to have aroused a great deal of interest
everywhere. A large number of our contemporaries have given publicity to it, and
some have commented upon it editorially. The news has even crossed the Atlantic,
where it has been received with half incredulous wonder. Not wonder at the mild
action taken in the premises, but wonder that a Mason should, or could, want so to
Revived Interest in Count Pulaski
Our friends who belong to the Roman Church have re-discovered that noble soldier
of fortune and partisan of liberty, Count Casimir Pulaski, who fell at the siege of
Savannah in the War of Independence. From different parts of the country we hear
of various suggestions for honoring his memory. In Wisconsin a public park has
had its name changed from Lindbergh Park to Pulaski Park; in New Jersey a
monument is proposed. In St. Louis there was a celebration and memorial service.
Naturally those of our citizens of Polish descent are interested, and as these nearly
all belong to the Roman Church, the attempt to add him to the Romanist Pantheon
of national heroes is logical enough. Whether Pulaski was a member of the Roman
Church himself we do not know, he may have belonged to the Moravian Church;
but however this may be, he was certainly a Freemason. We need not grudge the
new honors being paid to him, but the situation is rather amusing.
Withdrawal of Charges
From the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey for 1929 we learn that
one of the decisions made by the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. W. T. Vanderlipp, was
that charges preferred against a brother might be withdrawn by consent of all
parties when they did not involve criminal acts in the eyes of the law. And he went
on to express the opinion that where the complaint concerns money matters
charges should not be received by the lodge unless fraud is alleged in the
This is a very important matter. Originally lodges took cognizance of any quarrel
or dispute between individual members, and there were no formal regulations
governing such eases. To obviate abuses that appeared from time to time a
procedure analogous to that of courts of law has been provided in all jurisdictions.
But this procedure is not at all adapted to deal with disputes and
misunderstandings, and the consequence is that these are now almost everywhere
ignored by our lodges, with very evil results at times.
Would it not be possible to devise some less formal and serious method for
arbitrating and appeasing differences between brethren? It might go far to reviving
true friendship and fellowship in the American Craft.
Alleged Find of Masonic Manuscript
It is reported that an old manuscript dealing with Masonry has been found among
some old books at a farmhouse in Wisconsin. The discovery was made by Dr. B.
C. Meacher of Portage, Wis. The manuscript is stated to be several hundred years
old, but on what grounds this estimate was made does not appear.
We might guess, if the report has any foundation, that this would prove to be
another copy of the Old Charges; but the locality seems a very unpromising one for
this. It is possible it is a modem copy of one of the published versions, made by
some Mason for his own use. We hope that some of the Wisconsin brethren will
try to find out more about it. One of the brethren of Henry L. Palmer Lodge, or
perhaps some member of the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research seem
to come within their province. Such claims as this should be examined at once, for
as time passes the difficulties of establishing the truth rapidly increase.
The Iowa Grand Lodge Bulletin
Members of the N.M.R.S. are naturally interested in the Iowa Craft, seeing that it
was founded through the efforts of Iowa Masons, chartered under the Iowa law
governing non-profit making corporations, and for the first eight years of its
existence had its headquarters within its borders.
The Grand Lodge of Iowa has a world- wide reputation. It would not be too much
to say that it stands in the very forefront of the English speaking Masonic world in
regard to its achievements from the intellectual and educational point of view. The
Iowa Masonic Library, though it may have one or two equals, has no superior. Its
resources have been put freely at the disposal of Masonic students the world over,
and there is no reading Mason anywhere who does not know of its fame.
In conjunction with the educational work of the library a Bulletin has been issued
for many years, with the object of bringing the library and its resources, and its
acquisitions to the knowledge of the brethren in the Jurisdiction. The expense was
met by the Grand Lodge, and it was always considered as port of the Library work.
It was sent to all Iowa Masons, and to any Masonic student elsewhere who asked
to receive it. It became one of the few Masonic periodicals published in the English
language that was of general interest. It is no wonder that the name of Iowa stood
so high in the Masonic world.
Naturally this was due, as everything worth while always is, to the efforts of a few
leaders, notably the two Parvins, father and son. It is to be feared that the majority
of Iowa Masons neither know nor care about such things. They do not realize they
have a world reputation, perhaps they would not value it if they did. At least there
were signs at the last communication of the Grand Lodge that the character of the
Bulletin is to be changed. The Board of trustees suggested that "more emphasis
should be placed on the Craft in Iowa." There was some flowery verbiage about the
"worth while achievements of the several lodges," and how recording them "would
bring renewed enthusiasm and fresh courage" to all. But the meaning seemed to be
that Iowa would recede from its prominent position and would turn its attention to
its internal and private affairs, and that the Bulletin should become more and more
a local news sheet.
The rest of us, of course, have nothing to say. We can only be grateful for what
Iowa has done, and, if this tendency should be continued, we can only regret the
loss of Iowa leadership. It will come to many as a shock that even the existence of
the great Library is dependent from year to year on a bare majority in the Grand
Lodge, and we can only hope that this regressive tendency will go no further,
otherwise we may have to mourn the fall of one of the principal pillars oft
organized Masonry on its intellectual side.
An Educational Secretary in North Carolina
A recent issue (Sept. 16) of the Orphans Portend and Masonic Journal, which is the
organ of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, has an article by Bro. R. R. Saunders,
who is Educational Secretary of Reidsville Lodge, No. 384. In this article he
briefly recounts his experience. He apparently had to start with very little
assistance and very little knowledge of what has been done elsewhere. He
incidentally remarks on the failure of the Grand Lodge to "provide some system of
study covering all the phases of Masonic thought for the guidance of the
Like everyone else who has had to do with educational work he has come to the
conclusion that outside speakers, no matter how eloquent or well informed, can
never take the place of individual work by the members of the lodge, or study club,
themselves. He states his conclusions thus:
My study of, and experience in, this phase of Masonic work has been limited and,
without a pilot to guide me it has been more or less of a pioneering nature To begin
with I laid down certain rules about which to build my programmed, rules which
conform to the standard of common sense as far as I was able to apply it.
1st. They must be brief, they must be interesting, they must be instructive.
2nd. That the work must not be overdone by having too many meetings. I arranged
my meetings of four each, one in the Spring and one in the Pall, skipping the hot
3rd. That the work must be done systematically and progressively.
Masonry is no different from any other science or philosophy and I assumed that it
could not be treated any differently for practical results.
It is possible that the Syllabus published by the N.M.R.S. might serve him as a
guide. It has been used in similar eases with the most gratifying results.
Masonic Education in Idaho
In the Communication of the Grand Lodge of Idaho, held in September, Bro.
Curtis F. Pike, chairman, dwelt on the feet in his report that within a generation
conditions had completely changed. Once the lodge meeting was a welcome break
in the daily monotony of life, now it has to compete with a thousand distractions
and forms of entertainment. In consequence Masonry must develop some new
appeal, and the question of Masonic Education assumes more and more
The committee has compiled and published a list of Masonic books to assist lodges
in building up libraries, and this has apparently had some result. No definite
scheme or course of study has been arranged as yet, though some lodges have
formed Study Clubs. The committee looks forward to being able to accomplish still
more in the coming year.
The appropriation granted the committee last year seems a very small one, only
$500.00. This would seem to show that the real importance of this work has not yet
been so fully realized by the Grand Lodge as it has been by the committee.
The Masonic Relief Association
From the Missouri Freemason we learn of the recent biennial meeting of the
Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada, which was held in St.
Louis last month. This is undoubtedly the most efficient of the various
organizations established to harmonize and co-ordinate inter-Jurisdictional efforts.
And being the most efficient, is the least known and the least talked about.
Twenty-six Boards were represented directly by their own delegates, and many of
these were proxies, so that some fifty Boards were represented in all.
The agenda called for discussion of the following questions, and we are informed
that it was carried out in its entirety:
Does the Masonic fraternity really relieve distress among its members, their
widows and orphans?
What should be done to a lodge that fails to make provision for distress among its
own members or their dependents?
What can you tell us of the lodge that makes Masons and then turns them out for
other lodges to relieve when they are in distress?
What Grand Lodge requires each lodge to collect sufficient dues to maintain a
relief fund to meet emergencies?
Does the Masonic fraternity countenance and conceal the identity of persons
claiming to be members in good standing who are guilty of fraudulent transactions
or does it expose them? Which should it do?
How can a Mason guard against a fraud or impostor if not warned and warned in
an effective manner?
Is it not a feet that too much time is given to ritual and not enough to the study and
acquirement of a knowledge of its meaning and application?
Is not the Masonic fraternity getting away from its original plan of relieving the
distress of worthy members and their dependents ?
Is it not a fact that many lodges undertake to tie the hands of their officers and
actually prevent them from relieving distress?
Is this consistent with the original plan as taught in its lectures and ritual?
There were nine papers in all, these being by Bros. John A. Davilla, Joseph L Kirk,
Holland L. Kraw, J. B. Nixon, Phil. A. Roth, E. E. Axtell, Stewart Gamble, Walter
L. Stockwell and Lewis E. Smith.
Between reading of the eighth and ninth papers election of officers was held and
luncheon served, again in the temple dining hall. Those chosen to serve for the
next two years are Stewart Gamble, Baltimore, President; Dr. John D. Henderson,
Knoxville, Tenn., First Vice-President; J. B. Nixon, Toronto, Second Vice-
President; Lou B. Winsor, Grand Rapids, Mich., reselected Treasurer; Andrew J.
O'Reilly, St. Louis, reselected Secretary; Lewis E. Smith, Omaha, Chairman
Executive Board, and these members of that body: Ira Weingrun, New Orleans; D.
R. Cheney, Portland, Ore.; E. Earl Axtell, Buffalo, and George D. Riley, Jackson,
The Elimination of the Chapter
In the Introduction of the Report of the Committee on Review in the Proceedings
of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Illinois, the following passage
appears under the above heading:
"The general impression which the writer has gained from reviewing the
proceedings of the Grand Commanderies of the United States is that something
must be done in order to bring the Order of Knights Templar back to its own.
"Various measures have been suggested, and in some quarters one of the
outstanding has been the elimination of the Royal Arch Chapter as a prerequisite to
membership in the commandery. We are living in an age of the survival of the
fittest. There is no reason in the world why the Order of Knights Templar should
be called upon to propagate the chapter at its own expense. Someone has declared
that if the chapter is eliminated, in the course of five years the membership of the
Knights Templar will be doubled. This may be an extravagant claim, but the fact
remains just the same, that the Royal Arch Chapter is a mill stone about the neck of
the Order of Knights Templar.
"In this new age in which we are living when many Masonic organizations are
fighting for existence, there must be a readjustment, and it should be along sensible
lines. If the Royal Arch Chapter cannot stand upon its own merits, then the sooner
it goes out of business the better.
"The subject of chapter elimination is receiving the attention of Knights Templars
in many quarters, and it is believed that it is but a short time until the Grand
Encampment will be called upon to consider the advisability of dropping the
chapter, and opening admission to the Order to all Master Masons in good standing
who can pass the test."
This we expect will prove a very startling suggestion to most Masons. It is another
indication of the distance the American Masonic Institution has traveled in the last
thirty years or so. The basic idea of the so-called higher degrees and appendant
Orders was selection. The membership of the lodge was a selected group of men,
that of the chapter was selected from them, that of the commandery selected yet
once more. They were the elite, the very cream of the Fraternity, three times
investigated and examined, and thrice approved.
There have been in other periods and in different countries unseemly struggles
between Masonic systems and Rites, but it was for power or control. The present
situation would seem to be a mere struggle for existence, a sordid competition for
membership, and presumably fees.
It is only one symptom - there are plenty of others for those with their eyes open.
But what the remedy is no one seems to know. It does, however, seem unfortunate
that those organizations connected with Masonry which make so large a showing
in the public eye, and which attract so many of the unthinking because of their
showy features, are nearly all at the end of the succession of grades. It might be
better to break this artificial connection, it might be better even to make them open
to Entered Apprentices; playgrounds and parades would seem more suitable for the
novices and Masonic “youths.”
Whatever may be the right course to take in the present situation it is going to need
hard and sober thinking to find it, and the policy of shutting our eyes and insisting
that all is well in the best of possible institutions will have to be given up, for that
way lies disaster.
Bases of Recognition by the Grand Lodge of England
At the Quarterly Communication of the United Grand Lodge of England the
following "Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition" were adopted:
1. Regularity of origin; i. e., each Grand Lodge shall have been established
lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more regularly
2. That a belief in the G.A.O.T.U. and His revealed will shall be an essential
qualification for membership.
3. That all Initiates shall take their Obligation on or in full view of the open
Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is
binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated.
4. That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual lodges shall be
composed exclusively of men; and that each Grand Lodge shall have no Masonic
intercourse of any kind with mixed lodges or bodies which admit women to
5. That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the lodges under its
control; i.e., that it shall be a responsible, independent, self-governing
organization, with sole and undisputed authority over the Craft or Symbolic
Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason) within its
Jurisdiction; and shall not in any way be subject to or divide such authority with a
Supreme Council or other Power claiming any control or supervision over those
6. That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry (namely, the Volume of the Sacred
Law, the Square, and the Compasses) shall always be exhibited when the Grand
Lodge or its subordinate lodges are at work, the chief of these being the Volume of
the Sacred Law.
7. That the discussion of religion and polities within the lodge shall be strictly
8. That the principles of the Ancient Landmarks, customs, and usages Of the Craft
shall be strictly observed.
These requirements are very much what anyone might have expected, even to the
uncertainty of meaning that envelopes such terms as "religion" and "politics," and
the indefinite content of "Landmarks, customs and usages," while a critic might not
find it difficult to show inconsistencies latent in the phrases dealing with the
"revelation" of the Divine will. Nevertheless we may hope that these attempts at
defining requirements, and stating essentials, which are now appearing in different
parts of the Masonic world will lead to the removal of misunderstanding, and
perhaps eventually to the realization of the almost despaired of ideal of
International League of Freemasons
The fourth Congress of this league the official title of which is "Universala
Framasona Ligo" was held last month at Amsterdam. The only report of the
proceedings that has so far come to hand is that in the London Masonic News of
September 21st. From this we learn that the organization was started by a number
of Masons who were in attendance at the Esperantist Congress held at Boulogne in
1906, and was at first most concerned in advancing the cause of that universal
language. It took its present form in 1913.
The President of the League is Dr. Fritz Uhlmann of Basle, who is master of a
lodge under the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland.
Incidentally it may be remarked that Bro. Ossian Lang, Grand Historian of the
Grand Lodge of New York, was expected to attend, but was detained by illness in
Vienna. The authorities of the Grand Lodge of England gave the meetings a
guarded recognition, warning English Masons who intended to be present that they
represented only themselves. As the League strongly emphasis the fact it is an
organization of individual Masons only, this warning was perhaps not really
The Actual Situation in Italy
Reports continue to come through various channels that, if anything, the situation
of Italian Masons is worse than ever. A brother who has recently been in Italy
informs us that in spite of the persecution and the spies some of the lodges
continue to maintain their organization and to hold occasional meetings. Naturally
those brethren who are most prominent suffer most. Guiseppe Meoni, Grand
Master of the Grand Orient, has recently been "deported," and even Past Grand
Master Ettore Ferrari, now over seventy years of age, was threatened with the same
fate. Some remaining sense of shame, however, seems to have halted this, but he is
held practically a prisoner in his own house, unable to communicate with friends,
or to go out except by special police permission.
Indifference or Cowardice?
Bro. Morcombe asks this question concerning the Italian situation in the October
number of the Masonic World. He points out the difficulties in the way of any
concerted official protest on the part of American Freemasonry; the very same
conditions, it must be said, that faced it at the outbreak of the war. He also
observes that no protest would have made any practical difference, an opinion THE
BUILDER has also expressed. But he believes that indignation is widely felt
among American Masons, or at least among those who know anything about the
matter, and he thus concludes:
A few deprecatory allusions to the Italian situation can be credited to Grand
Masters and others in authority, but so far no real voice of official protest has been
heard. On the other hand, there have been attempts to explain the silence by
asserting that Italian Masonry is political, altogether unlike our own. The inference
is that, being accounted heretical, American Masonic sympathy would be
misplaced. One might be justified in asking whether our Masonry, having been
long dumb on every question of importance, and living a peaceful and protected
life, has not grown cowardly. An expression, manfully phrased, protesting against
the persecution of Italian Masons, would at least have defined our position, and
would have proved to the sufferers that there was with them the moral support of
the largest section of the universal society. Whether the reason for silence be
indifference or cowardice, it is not to the credit of the American Craft.
A Fascist Freemasonry
This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but the latest number of Alpina, the
organ of the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland quotes from Italia, a journal
published in Paris (on behalf of the Italian exiles we presume) an article under the
heading "A Freemasonry of Fascist Adventurers." In this it is asserted that
Mussolini has a pressing need of a ghost or shadow of Masonry (for reasons that
might easily be imagined) and that a certain Edouard Frosini has been created
Grand Master, a man "without either political or moral influence." It is also stated
that reports have been received from both Vienna and Copenhagen to the effect
. . . this suspicious personage, who naturally acts in accord with the Fascist party,
has demanded recognition. At the very moment when the Italian police are
deporting the real Free Masons, he is able to constitute lodges openly, and to send
diplomas and patents abroad. It is obvious that he is nothing but an instrument of
the police for purposes of espionage and provocation.
This might account for sundry letters now being sent to various newspapers in
England and elsewhere, purporting to be from Italian Masons, claiming that there
is no Masonic persecution in Italy, and implying that all those who were deported
or imprisoned were traitors and scoundrels, and deserved all and more than they
have received in the way of punishment.
Church and State in Malta
From press dispatches it appears that the parish cures of Malta, at a meeting
described as "secret," passed resolutions to the effect that they would collectively
express their adhesion with the Archbishop in his controversy with the Governor;
that they would exert every effort to enlist the support of all clubs, societies and
other organizations in thus cause; and generally to open a campaign to rouse a
strong public opinion against the government in regard to the matter in dispute.
It seems also that the Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Gasparri, wrote to the
Archbishop of Malta stating that the Maltese Government was violating the
"Catholic traditions" of the island, and that he has sent an official note to Mr.
Chilton, the British Envoy to the Vatican, to inform him that Lord Strickland, the
Governor, was persona non grata to the Holy See.
Lord Strickland in reply has stated that he was a descendant of a Roman Catholic
family whose members through generations had suffered loss of life and property,
and who had endured loss of civil status and exclusion from public life on account
of their religion, but who stood to the pledge made at the time of the Emancipation
Bill, that English Roman Catholics "would take their religion from Rome and their
politics from themselves," adding that only on these conditions could they continue
to serve as ministers of the English crown.
The matter in dispute, it will be remembered, arose about a high handed attempt on
the part of the ecclesiastical authorities of Malta to deport a priest, against his will,
to Sicily in defiance of his rights as a British subject. This attempt Lord Strickland,
as Governor, very properly vetoed - "hence all these tears."
The Grand Lodges of Germany
In answer to a correspondent the Illinois Freemason says:
The Grand Lodge of Illinois has never extended recognition to any Grand Lodge in
Germany. Masonic conditions in Germany are rather chaotic, and while attempts
have been made in times past to secure recognition, yet the same has not been
extended for the reason that such Grand Lodges as have existed have not been able
to measure up to those fundamentals which Illinois requires.
The Grand Lodge of Illinois was organized in 1 823. The Grand Lodge of the Three
Globes at Berlin was founded in 1744, the National Grand Lodge in 1770, the
Grand Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Union in 1783, the Prussian Grand Lodge of
Friendship in 1798, the Grand Lodge of Hamburg, the Grand; Lodge of the Sun at
Bayreuth, and the Grand Lodge of Saxony were all formed in 1 8 1 1 . In origin no
one has ever dreamed of calling any of them irregular, in regard to the beliefs
required of their candidates, the Great Lights, and the conduct of discussion in their
lodges, there has never been a suspicion of their orthodoxy from the strictest
Anglo-Saxon viewpoint. The only thing that could possibly be questioned is that
they have never adopted the American doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction,
being content to dwell together in amity within the same boundaries. German
lodges have always been well disciplined, and their membership is of the very
It is true that the German Masonry severed relations with the Grand Lodges of
enemy countries during the war, and with some neutral Grand Lodges also. It is
true likewise that since the war it has stood aloof from the rest of the Masonic
world, a course that the sympathetic observer will have no difficulty in
understanding, but this does not in the least impeach its regularity, its orthodoxy,
or its claims on the fraternal consideration of the rest of the Masonic world.
JAMES GUSTAVUS HANKINS
We have learned with deep regret of the death of Bro. "Gus" Hankins, for many
years the editor of the Virginia Masonic Journal. An enthusiastic Mason, he gave a
great deal of time and work to the Institution. He was Grand Recorder of the Grand
Commandery, Grand Secretary of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter, and at one time
Secretary of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Richmond, and at the time of his death he
was a Vice President of the Masonic Press Association.
He was educated at Hampden- Sydney College. Later he studied law, and
eventually became Chief Clerk in the office of the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, which position he held through several administrations. He finally
gave this up to devote all his time to Masonic work.
He had been in ill-health for a number of years, but it was about a year ago that he
was stricken with the complaint that caused his death, in his sixty-second year. We
offer to his surviving relatives and friends our most sincere sympathy.
— o —
Modem Problems of the Craft
Answers to Some Questions By Herbert Hungerford, Author of Our Ancient
Fraternity and Present Day Problems
SINCE proposing the adoption of a program of Popular Masonic education-that is
a program designed particularly to appeal to the interests of the rank and file of
ordinary Masons-as a solution for many of the present day problems of our Order,
a good many challenging questions have been put up to me in person and by letters
from brethren. Some of these questions, which I now propose to face, even though
I may not be able to give adequate answers to all of them, doubtless, are the
questions arising in the minds of many of our members when they confront the
problems that must be solved and the tasks that must be undertaken if Freemasonry
is to meet the challenge of the changing conditions in our day and age.
1 -Since Membership in the Order is Increasing Every Year, Why Do You Insist
That Anything is Wrong?
I do not base my opinion that Freemasonry has shifted to a wrong direction, simply
because the rate of increase in membership has declined every year for at least five
years. I am quite willing to concede that our growth at one period may have been
too rapid for the health of the Order. Frankly, I am far more concerned about the
quantitative than the quantitative extension of Freemasonry. It is the decline in the
quality of membership and, particularly, the cheapening of the quality of Masonic
activities that seems to me apparent everywhere that caused the protest I have
2-Is Not the Real Spirit of Freemasonry Manifested More in the Fives of Its
Members Than in Their Attendance at Meetings?
Certainly; yet this admission does not alter the criticism of a Fodge for its failure to
provide a program that will attract more than five or ten per cent of its members.
No one can deny that many good men and Masons seldom attend their Fodge. I
claim that the Fodge is at fault if it does not provide programs which appeal to
every good Mason
3 -Isn't Masonry Losing Ground for the Same Reason That the Church is?
If this question means to imply that folks are no longer interested in the cultural or
spiritual values of life, my own observation of the widespread interest in various
other cultural activities appears to give a negative answer. But, if the purport of the
inquiry is that many churches as well as many Lodges have failed to adjust their
programs to keep in tune with the new cultural key- note of our times, I think it
must be admitted that this surely is one cause of the decline of both institutions.
4-Isn't Our Present Masonic Problem Due Chiefly to the Fact That During the
Period When the Order Grew so Rapidly Too Many Members of Low Grade
Intelligence Were Admitted?
This is the classic criticism of the high-brow. The question implies that Masonry is,
or should be, an aristocratic instead of a democratic institution. This is a suggestion
of intellectual snobbery, which seems to me false to every ideal and contrary to
every precept of our Order. The appeal of our ancient fraternity always has been
and, I trust, ever will be to the common citizen, the average man.
5-Don't You Think the Big Trouble With Our Lodges Comes From Too Many
Square Clubs and Other Auxiliary Organizations?
No, I do not think this is necessarily so. Doubtless some "joiners" simply use the
Lodge as an entrance to some of the modern auxiliaries of Freemasonry. But, if our
lodges were fulfilling their true mission and providing a distinctive cultural
program that could not be obtained elsewhere, every society and fraternity
connected with the fundamental organization would help rather than hinder its
growth and influence.
6-Don't You Think That the Opposition of Certain Religious Denominations Has
Been Detrimental to Freemasonry?
Quite the contrary. In my opinion, the greatest achievement of Freemasonry has
been its firm stand against the twin evils of bigotry and intolerance. I am firmly
persuaded that this has drawn more into the Order than the forces of bigotry have
kept out of it. Is there anyone in these days who cannot read in the signs of the
times the doom of bigotry and the ultimate triumph of the truth and light which our
great institution has so long upheld?
7 Haven't You Found That the Major Fault of Masonry is Too Much Masonic
Well, I agree with Brother Cyrus Field Williard, who pointed out in THE
BUILDER last month that the sacerdotal class in all ages, and in all bodies, even
Grand Lodges, have always sought to keep the multitude in ignorance that their
own schemes might be forwarded." So, I must admit quite frankly that some of the
political activities of our "big guns" have not helped much to raise the ideals or
advance the interests of the Craft. But, I also agree most emphatically with Brother
Willard, that in our fraternal democracy, the rank and file are the real rulers, so if
we make a genuine demand for our ancient "birthright" all good Masonic
politicians will be quick to aid us in procuring all the educational advantages we
8-Don't You Realize That the Worst Evil in Our Lodges is the Continuous Money
Raising Campaigns, So That One Can Not Attend a Meeting Without Being
Tackled for a Contribution or a Subscription, Which Makes Such a Steady Drain
Upon the Pocketbook That Some Star Away From Lodge in Order to Avoid These
I do not deny that there is some excuse for this complaint because, frankly, it
seems to me that some of our fund-raising drives would require a considerable
stretch of the imagination to be classed as charity. But, I do not think true-spirited
Masons ever will complain about or dodge the appeals of true Masonic charity.
Our trouble, 1 believe, lies in the failure of our present programs to fully impress
the teachings of our fraternity and to inculcate the true Masonic spirit in all
brethren admitted to our fellowship.
9-Getting Right Down to Brass Tacks, Hasn't Masonry Slumped for the Same
Reason That All Cultural Activities Are Going Backwards?
Since I am unable to agree with the assumption that all cultural activities in this
country are going backwards, of course, I cannot admit that this- whatever it may
be - is a cause of the slacking of the progress of our fraternity. In the wide-spread
sale of thoughtful books, such as Dr. Durant's Story of Philosophy for example; in
the eager interest that so many people manifest in many new cultural movements
such as The Humanistic Society and in the tribute that the whole world now pays
to its men of genius, before they die; as in the recent celebrations in honor of
Thomas A. Edison and Dr. John Dewey; all these and other present day activities
seem to me to be definite indications of a genuine revival of cultural interest.
10- Why Waste Energies in Chasing the Delusion That It Is Possible to Interest the
Rank and File of Our Craft in Anything of an Educational Character? Why Not Be
Content to Concentrate Your Educational Efforts in Behalf of the Small Minority
of Really Intelligent Members?
As I have already tried to answer this question several times, perhaps it will suffice
to remind readers of what he Great Teacher said when He was rebuked for His
association with and His interest in the "low-brows" of his day. "The Son of Man
came not to call the righteous but sinners unto repentance." The real students and
scholars of our Craft do not need more Masonic education.
11- if Masonic Education Is Such a Good Thing, Why Is There so Much Difficulty
in Putting it Across?
One way of treating this would be to label it Foolish question No. 9,733,562.
A Yankee method of answering it is to ask - Can you name anything really worth
while that did not require great pains and effort to establish?
12 - Why Do You Talk as Though Masonic Education Were a Newly Discovered
Remedy for Our Ills, When Others Have Been Preaching the virtues of This
Panacea for Years?
The answer to this simply is that I have never advocated the virtues of Masonic
education either as a panacea or a novelty. Always I have tried to convey my belief
that the shifting of our emphasis, so as to devote more attention to the educational
and cultural features of our Masonic program, instead of an innovation or a novelty
simply would be getting back to the principle on which our great Institution was
13 -One of Our Well Informed Brothers Recently Gave Us an Address on Masonic
Education Which Put Most of Our Members Asleep. Why Do You Insist on
Inflicting More of This Sort of Thing Upon Us?
The only answer to this is that old-time classic, "You can't drive a nail with a
sponge, no matter how hard you may soak it."
14 - We Started a Study Club Which Petered Out After a Few Meetings. Why
Should we Try it Again?
I am not convinced that it is the best way to begin a Masonic educational program
by starting a Study Club. Certainly there are many other things that may be done to
introduce more educational features into Lodge programs. The chief secret of
success in conducting a Study Club is having an enthusiastic and tactful leader.
This type of leadership can make a success of any group activity. But it is not
always easy to discover or develop such leadership in Lodge work. Yet it can be
15 - Our Lodge of Three Hundred Members Is Finding Difficulty in Discovering
Good Men to Fill Our Chairs. Can You Help us?
What a confession of weakness this is of the present practice in a modern Lodge! If
it were an exceptional situation it would not seem so pitiful; but my observation
convinces me that it is a frequent problem of many Lodges. It seems to me that the
cause of this serious shortcoming can be due only to one condition. The Lodge
program has been so lacking in many of the fundamental educational teachings of
the fraternity that it has failed to inspire and train even a paltry percentage of its
own membership with any of the true ideals and interests of our Order which
should make men eager for an opportunity to serve, and at the same time become
duly informed in Masonic principles and inspired with the high ideals of the spirit
of Freemasonry so as to assure their competence in filling any chair of their Lodge.
16 - Since Our Fraternity Is Already Staggering Under the Burden of Too Many
Side-Line Societies, Why Do You Propose Another Association to Carry on Your
Particular Plan of Masonic Education?
In suggesting that those of us who are mutually interested in this proposition of
endeavoring to devise and develop a program that will appeal to ordinary Masons
and interest them in some sort of educational or cultural activities in our Order,
should adopt such a title as "The Loyal Order of Builders," I had no notion of
suggesting a new society, but merely a method of co-operation in the development
of our program. We do not need another organization, but we do need some sort of
a group heading under which we may formulate our plans and exchange
experiences in carrying on the work we are undertaking. It seems to me that The
Loyal Order of Builders is a proper and significant title for us to adopt as kind of a
working slogan, so I shall be glad to hear from everyone interested in the aims we
have been describing and the program we are trying to develop. Bear in mind that
our great purpose is not to start something new, but rather a plan to get back to first
principles in our Masonic programs, yet adopting modern ideas and
instrumentalities in furthering these principles.
Address your letters of comment, criticism, inquiry or enlistment in this effort to
Herbert Hungerford, The Loyal Order of Builders, Scarsdale, N. Y.